Jamaal Lascelles admits he’s worried about the uncertainty surrounding Rafa Benitez’s future – insisting that, unlike many others managers, he’s someone every player wants to impress each week.
Th skipper has remained calm about the gaffer’s situation over the past few months, but he’s revealed just how ‘special’ the Spaniard is in his latest interview, insisting that there’s few managers like him in world football.
One thing that this makes me realise – just imagine how the player’s motivation to impress and performance levels may suffer should the Spaniard leave?
Here’s what he’s had to say in his latest interview:
“Since he’s (Benitez) been here, we’ve been doing really well. Even in the season we got relegated, he came in and we started winning games,”
“In the Championship season, we came first, tenth (in the Premier League) last year and now we are finishing strong this year. Of course as players we want him here, but we are not in control of whatever is going on. But, hopefully he gets tied down.
“Does it worry me he might leave? Yes, of course it does. There aren’t many managers like him. Of course as players, we want him here, and Newcastle should do everything they can to keep him,”
“As players, when you get a manager in for the first couple of days and the first week, you want to impress him so much. But with Rafa, that has stayed for the whole time he has been here
“Even with me, I know him very well now, we’ve been working together for a long time, but I still want to impress him every single session, every single day. I just want to keep impressing him. I guess when he’s got all that respect off all the players, it brings a hard-working team and a hard-working team is tough to beat.
“He is special. Even at the start of the season, when everyone is panicking and we’ve got all those big teams to play and we find ourselves down in the bottom three, he stays so calm. He knows his players, he trusts his own ability to get the best out of his players and that’s such an important thing for a manager to have.”
Lascelles is a relaxed character and honest as ever here, being yet another player who’s now sent another clear message to Mike Ashley regarding Rafa’s future and the importance of keeping him.
Keeping Benitez not only gives us the edge over fellow mid-table sides when it comes to tactics, he can attract in the transfer market, has contacts all over the world and, crucially, plays a key part in motivating the players to be the best they can be; both in training and come match day.
Losing him would be a disaster – and you don’t need to read too hard between the lines to realise that Lascelles would be devastated to see him go.