Rafa Benitez reveals what his players are telling him about Newcastle’s season

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says his players can see the “big picture” at Newcastle United.

The club is in the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home game against Arsenal.

However, Benitez’s side have played three of last season’s top five in their opening fixtures.

And United’s manager doesn’t believe his team has been competitive in every game its played.

Asked what the team has been doing right so far this season, Benitez said: “To be fair, I was talking with some of them about that after the training session.

“We know that we did well defensively as a team, as a unit, but we didn’t do as well in transition and attack. That is a reality. To lose by a one-goal margin against three top sides, you can say that we were nearly there. To draw against Cardiff when we had the chance was a disappointment.

One of these players, he told me ‘we know that we can do it, because we did it last year’. The big picture, he has a clear vision of the big picture

Rafa Benitez

“The good thing is that we know that is the way, to keep working as hard as we did as a unit to defend. Also, we know that we have to be better in attack and take more chances if we want to win games.”

Benitez was heartened by a conversation he had with midfielder Mohamed Diame over the international break.

“One of these players, he told me ‘we know that we can do it, because we did it last year’,” said Benitez.

“The big picture, he has a clear vision of the big picture. Sometimes you have to analyse little things that can make the difference.

“At the moment, it’s to be sure we understand this is the situation. If mentally we can be ready to manage a situation like this one.

“Last year we were close to the bottom but I think (only) once we were there. Now, it’s like that and could be like that. Some of the other teams are drawing and winning.

“Still we have difficult games to play. We have to manage this situation and be strong mentally and carry on doing the things we did well last year. That will be the key to winning games this year.”