Rafael Benitez is a popular man at St. James’ Park, and with good reason. The manager, despite a limited budget, has continually delivered for the Newcastle fans, and though results haven’t always been great, he’s done well given the context.
Comments that the manager has made regarding his future ahead of Newcastle’s game with Wolves, then, may well worry supporters.
According to the Shields Gazette when questioned on his contract, Benitez said: “The point is, you have to do what is best for your team and at the moment, the best thing we can do is to focus and concentrate on that. Every game is a final for us, so we cannot waste energy on other thoughts.”
Clearly, Benitez is focused on the present, and whilst you could argue that his lack of distractions is a good thing, the reality is that the manager appears to be trying to put off questions about his future – and that doesn’t bode well long-term.
It’s evident that he’s trying to get Newcastle safe in the Premier League first, and that’s admirable, but it means little if he’s going to be forced out this summer.
If keeping him at the club was looking likely, you’d expect him to say as much, but the fact that he’s refusing to be drawn on the topic doesn’t exactly suggest that terms are close to being agreed.
This isn’t the sort of thing that we want to be hearing ahead of the Wolves game. It’s going to be hard enough, and now that it’s continuing to become evident that Benitez isn’t necessarily going to be here long-term, motivation is going to be even harder to come by.