Jamaal Lascelles has sent a strong message to fans slating Rafa Benitez following Saturday’s defeat to Brighton, saying ‘he knows football better than anyone in this whole stadium’.
It’s pretty bold stuff from Lascelles – especially when quite a number of fans feel that they have every right to question his decisions – however it’s something that needed to be said for me.
Yes we should be able to say what we feel he got wrong, but it’s totally wrong to be turning on Benitez for me.
He is not THE problem in all of this. He may have got a few things wrong, but he’s had his hands tied once again over the summer, with Ashley sucking all the momentum out of the club after last year’s top 10 finish.
Here’s what the skipper has had to say after we slipped to bottom of the table following Saturday’s defeat at St James’ Park:
“I don’t think anyone in the stadium can question the manager about anything.
“Substitutions, tactics or whatever, he knows football better than anyone in this whole stadium. People might say he should have brought this or that player on, but he’s done it at the top level and won trophies, so he knows.
“He wants us to play a certain way and if we can’t do that as players, it’s down to us.”
The way I see it, Rafa Benitez has been asked to paint the Mona Lisa with just one crayon. What else do we expect?
Do I think this team are underperforming? Yes. But I can see why the drive has diminished. We were a club on the up just a few months ago after finishing 10th and beating Chelsea 3-0, however Ashley’s total neglect (both of Benitez, his future, a takeover and the transfer window) has left us in a mess.
Some want him out – and they’re entitled to an opinion – but can you name me a manager who would be able to manage on a £1m net spend over two seasons in the top flight after getting promoted from the Championship?