Rafa Benitez has insisted that there is NO issue between him and Jamaal Lascelles, also defending the tactics used during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Starting with Lascelles – who played no part over the weekend – here’s what Rafa’s had to say:
“I spoke to him before the game at St James’ Park & when he left the ground.
“I spoke to him this morning maybe 3 or 4 times because his partner’s baby is due.
“We are fine”
This is a relief, although let’s hope his ankle injury is nothing serious.
Here’s what Rafa had then to say when asked about Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea and the defensive tactics he adopted:
“My job as a manager is to analyse my squad, then decide what is the best approach to each game. Chelsea spent more in one window than we did in six.
“Everyone has different ideas & options, but for the squad we have this approach is fine. We almost got a draw.”
He continued, insisting that he was really pleased with our performance defensively:
“We re-watched the game & I am really pleased with the players in defence. They did what I asked.
We did the same last year & we finished 10th.
We must improve in attack & transition, but in defence we were excellent & finished 10th.”
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good to watch – especially so early in the season at home – but we were five minutes away from a very good point.
Providing we don’t do the same at home to Arsenal in a few weeks time, I back Benitez to continue doing as he does.