Rafa Benitez has spoken to the press ahead of Saturday’s game with Tottenham, addressing the transfer window and his future at the club – but mainly focusing his attentions on tomorrow’s opening day of the season clash with Spurs.
We end the summer with seven new signing – Dubravka, Kenedy, Ki, Rondon, Muto, Schar and Fernandez – however our failure to land a new left-back and number 10 on deadline day has left us a little short heading into the new season.
Nevertheless, Rafa has given a typically diplomatic response to the media today in light of it all, sounding focused on the new season now the transfer window is closed.
Here’s what he’s had he’s had to say, starting with his response when asked about our failure to sign a left-back:
“You cannot expect all the window will be perfect. In this case, we were trying to do our best.
“OK, it’s not easy, this position; we were trying, looking for options and we don’t have a new body there, so we have to manage.”
Rafa then talked about the transfer window in general, admitting it ‘could be better’:
“People think Rafa is upset and will say this or that.
“The team we had last year the majority are still here so that’s good for us.
“To bring in new players is important, because if a player sees someone running faster, they have to run faster too. The competition is good.
“We have added to it. But it could be better.”
He then said the following when asked about his future and potential contract talks:
“I am a fighter so that’s what I will do.”
“I will try to do my best every day. I want to stay, but now is not the time to talk.
“We have to focus on football. If we need to talk about an extension, we can do at some point. But I am focused on the team & finishing as high up the table as possible”
“The time to talk about that was before, now we have finished the window, we start the Premier League, and that comes later.”
Benitez then confirmed that almost everybody is fit for tomorrow’s game, however Federico Fernandez will be the only main absentee after linking up with the squad just last night:
“We have more or less everybody fit.
“Federico Fernández is fit but he is not in the squad tomorrow. He came late and needs to get to know everybody.”
And finally, here’s his amusing response to hearing a dog barking outside during the press conference!
Rafa Benitez’s press conference interrupted by two stray dogs barking at the training ground 🐕 🐕 “Are they big enough to get a game!?” joked Rafa. pic.twitter.com/9I6K75mO11
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 10, 2018
Good to hear him sounding focused ahead of the new season, with him clearly putting the transfer window behind him despite another summer of frustration.