Following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom, Rafa Benitez has admitted that we have to improve if we want to compete in the Premier League – reminding Mike Ashley that he has come here to win trophies, not finish 10th.
Benitez admitted late last week that talks are now underway between him, his representatives and NUFC officials ahead of a big summer for the club.
He clearly wants to stay, but it’s also clear that he’ll only commit to a new contract if his big ambitions can be matched by Mike Ashley.
Reflecting on Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to West Brom, Rafa mentioned (once again) that he has far bigger ambitions for the club than simply settling for a top 10 finish – a reminder that he MUST be backed this summer:
“I said before, for me to finish 8th or 15th doesn’t change my life,”
“It means a lot if you can finish higher in the table, fine. But I like to win trophies, not to finish 10th.
“This time, OK, we can finish ninth, it’s better that you finish ninth. But we have to improve, we cannot play at the level we did against West Brom.”
These comments worry me when we have someone like Mike Ashley in control of the club. Will he deliver what’s required to make us more than just a club competing in and around the top 10? I’m not so sure.
Benitez is a man that tends to keep his cards close to his chest, but his message to Mike Ashley has been crystal clear over the last few weeks.
He’s not going to agree to a new contract or commit to the club if he feels the board are unwilling and unable to take us to the next level – something that seems essential if we are to keep a world class coach and man-manager like Rafa Benitez.
Time for Ashley to wake up and smell the roses or seriously risk Rafa walking away this summer.