After finishing in the top 10 just weeks after we were tipped for relegation, Jamaal Lascelles has hit back at the critics claiming we ‘weren’t good enough’ last season – admitting it’s nice to have no proved the doubters wrong in the end.
It was a theme for pundits and fans up and down the country to say that this team would’ve been rock bottom and relegated without Rafa Benitez, but the skipper has come out today and defended the quality and effort levels within our current squad.
Here’s what he’s had to say about it all today:
“As captain of this team, it’s not nice to hear: ‘This team’s not good enough’, and: ‘You need better players.’ It angers me.
“I know these boys, and I know how good they are. Not only that, I know they’ll give 110 per cent for the badge, and that’s why we’ve not had to worry about relegation.
“With five games to go, we were clear and in mid-table. These boys have so much about them and I’m so pleased we proved those doubters wrong.”
I think he’s bang on – and our achievement last season highlights that.
Yes Rafa had a huge part to play, but as the Spaniard says himself, he can only do so much. It’s still down to the players to execute his plans and perform on that pitch each week.
We know we have energy and work rate in abundance, but I don’t think we’re THAT low on quality either. Dubravka, Lejeune, Lascelles, Shelvey, Merino, Ritchie, Diame, Perez – all players who have more than enough talent to call themselves Premier League players.