Date: 13th September 2016 at 2:26am
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Manager Rafa Benitez has spoken of his pleasure at the result against Derby, but going into the QPR match he’s warned the players about complacency.

Travelling to the iPro Stadium last weekend to take a two nil victory over Derby County, Benitez covered a few few topics after the game, such as Isaac Hayden’s omission and his words with Jonjo Shelvey, but the main message coming from it all was always seek more improvement and don’t get carried away with the Championship table given so few games have played in 2016/17.

The Chronicle had him quoted post game as praising the players for not settling for a single goal on the day – as the indication is they were told to run the clock down.

‘We were managing the situation and then we scored with two or three minutes to play. They decided that on their on their own. It was perfect and it was an amazing goal.’

With caveats about getting carried away, he did say it was a good start to the year overall and he felt we were now on the right track after earlier struggles.

‘They have trained really hard and listened to the staff. You try to send a message across, they listen to you and then try to do it on the pitch. We can still improve but you can see them all believing. It is a long hard race but we are going in the right direction.’

Speaking about Shelvey, he praised the player for showing improvement with better fitness this year, and also commented on his goal against Brighton lifting him, but explained his quick touchline chat with the player after we opened the scoring.

‘During the game when you score a goal is when you have some time to talk to the players. You can get close and explain two or three little things you need to correct or encourage. After the game everybody was happy and going to see the fans to say thank you. At that time you can say one thing maybe, and then leave them to enjoy. We just spoke about little things because we changes the system and what they needed to understand what we were looking for.’


‘I think he knows his strengths and also his problems. He`s working on that and improving. I think he worked very hard during the summer to try to be fit. At the beginning of the season you could see that in the training sessions. Then he had more confidence. He is playing better and his first goal was massive for him too. There`s a lot of positives, little by little he is learning things about his game and that is positive about his future too.’

With Alan Shearer’s statue being unveiled this weekend, he also commented.

‘What I said about Alan Shearer was that I would like to see my players scoring as many goals as him. Yes, you want to do well and remembered as an important figure in the history of the club. In this case, it is very simple how to do that – to get promoted. If we are promoted, everybody will say: ‘Fantastic.` And after that, we want to achieve something more. It doesn`t matter the team that you coach, you want to do these things. When you are competitive and have a winning mentality, you want to win.’

The fans and their continuing love of the Rafalution also figured, as whilst he admitted he’s naturally an ambitious man, he feels winning silverware with Newcastle given how the fans have taken to him would make it all the more special.

‘Because I have been in so many clubs now, when you have the feeling of getting something back from the fans, you want to do even more and achieve something. That is the situation I had in Liverpool and I have it here. I would like to do really well because it is my nature, but also because the fans are so good. I want to give them something back.’

With Queens Park Rangers on the horizon in the midweek fixture and a trip to Loftus Road, there was a sense of caution amongst the optimism from the gaffer though as he knows there’s an awful long way left in the season yet – and five straight wins (four league) means nothing yet and he still wants further improvement.

‘I think it is easy to carry on with this positive atmosphere now that we are winning. The fans have to enjoy it. After some bad times, when they have good times they have to enjoy it. That is normal. At the same time, my message is very clear – there is nothing done yet. It has to be like this for months. We are not talking about one of two games or one month. It has to be for months. My main message is we have to concentrate. We cannot be overconfident and we have to be sure we approach every game like the most important game of the season.’

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