Rafa Benitez is not the sort of manager who sounds upbeat during his press conference but he sounded like a man without any hope speaking ahead of Newcastle’s game against Southampton.
Rafa cited “Mental Block” among his players who are doing their best in training but have not been able to replicate that on to the games. Benitez knows the importance of 3 points and would be keen on a win this weekend to make his task a bit easier.
Addressing the media Benitez said: ‘Everybody will say “oh, Newcastle will be relegated” but that is normal when you see the table.
‘At the same time I can see the players changing in training. My concern would be if I saw the players giving up and I don’t see that.
‘The team, I can guarantee, is giving everything in every training session and we have to stop the mental block that they have.
They are a little bit blocked and we need to change this. ‘How? Winning would be perfect.
‘If we can, it will be easier for me, the speech will be easier. If we cannot, still we have to keep on fighting until the end.’
While Benitez cites how his players are doing their bit in training, results have clearly gone against his team. No one would question him for the 1-0 loss against Leicester. Shinji Okazaki’s overhead kick was worth winning any football game, and The Magpies finished the game stronger of two teams.
However, coming two games were absolutely winnable for Newcastle but they scuppered the chance by playing 1-1 draw vs. Sunderland and then the damning 3-2 loss against Norwich may have sealed the fate for The Toons.
Norwich winning was a double whammy for Newcastle, not only Rafa’s side dropped three points but it also allowed The Hornets to pull away in the relegation battle. Gap between the two teams now stands at 4 points which can get widened this weekend as Newcastle face a tough opposition in Southampton.
Saints at St. Mary’s do not give easy three points to anyone and seeing how lackluster Newcastle have been this season, even a point would be hard to come by for Rafa Benitez and his men.
A defeat against Southampton would make survival even tougher for The Magpies who face Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham in their remaining 5 matches. As things stand Newcastle look a safe bet to go down this season with Norwich edging them in this season’s relegation battle.