Rafa Benitez has warned Newcastle supporters that this season will be very different to last, admitting that the Premier League season will be a totally different challenge, where it may be difficult to compete as he would like given the tools at his disposal.
Firstly, he speaks about how much different the upcoming season will be to our Championship winning campaign and suggests what we must do in order to overcome the challenges ahead:
‘This is a totally different challenge. Last year we were much better than the other teams in 70 per cent of the games and we had to manage expectations,’
‘This year it could be the total opposite, so we have to make sure we are mentally strong when we are losing.
‘We have to be happy because we are back in the Premier League, but the only way we can have good aspirations is to improve the squad now.’
‘I have been at teams before where it was difficult to win. You have to manage in a different way. The main thing is to be sure that you have a strong mentality in the team.’
Benitez then went on to suggest t that his ability as a manager can only get us so far, with it being essential that a team has the right ‘tools’ to compete:
‘The name of the manager doesn’t matter – it’s about the team,’
‘If you have the right tools you can compete and do different things. When you have a very strong team then it doesn’t matter if the manager isn’t good enough because you can still win.
‘In my experience, I have seen a lot of managers win only because their players are so good.
‘People outside think the one who wins is a great manager, but sometimes it is only because of the team. The thing that matters most is the players.
‘The reality is that the best managers in the Premier League have been there a while and they have been able to spend some money on top-class players, so they have a better squad than we have.
‘So you can be a good manager but lose games because your team is not good enough.’
Benitez appears to be up for the challenge ahead, but he hints here that further signings will be required to give him the necessary quality in his squad to allow us to compete in the Premier League.
Rafa is a great manager but he is not a miracle worker. Another subtle message to Mike Ashley that screams of ‘get me some quality players’.