Rafa Benitez has responded to Jamaal Lascelles’ ‘nice guy’ comment about Mike Ashley yesterday – saying this was a reflection of his ‘two hour meeting’ with the NUFC owner and NOT ‘what has happened over 11 years’.
Rafa also claims that the skipper was simply trying to keep everyone ‘together’ and create a ‘positive’ atmosphere around St James’ Park, with him clearly realising the importance of us being united ahead of such a vital run of fixtures.
Here’s what Rafa’s said about the captain’s comments yesterday:
‘It was a reflection of one meeting for two hours with the with the owner, not on what has happened over 11 years. ‘He was trying to put over a positive message.’
“We had dinner, his first impression you cannot control. He doesn’t have an opinion of the past few years (re. Ashley).
“He wants to keep everyone together.
“He was trying to put over a positive message.”
I think this is spot on from Rafa. There can be no denying that Lascelles made a mistake with the timing of his comments, however I do feel some fans have overreacted slightly.
Rafa then reacted to the defenders new contract – with him urging fans to get behind players ‘who care’ like Lascelles, quite rightfully claiming that this is what so many supporters have asked for in recent years:
‘It’s a signal he is committed. That’s good.
‘It’s a message that he’s happy here & with what is going on in his development.
He’s quite young – he has plenty of time for England. He has bits to improve but he can be a great player for this club’
‘I remember the fans saying to me: ‘we want players who care’. We have signed players who care. So now we have to support them. ‘Support them during the game and then analyse everything afterwards.’