Rafa: 'We Are A Team Now'

Last updated : 20 March 2018 By Footy Mad - Editor

“The winning teams sometimes have one special player who can make a difference,” Rafa Benitez explains. “Some of the [best]teams are teams. We are a team.

“We don’t have one player who can win three games in a row, like Messi or whatever. What we have is a team that know each other really well, who know the jobs they have to do, and they try to do this job in the best way possible.

“It does make me proud to see players like Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett, and you see they are improving. But that is because they learn. I have been doing this for a long time and it is the players who learn who you need to work with.

“You have to coach them to think and understand the game. If they cannot, then you have to tell them ‘you have to do this anyway,’ but the best thing to do is say ‘listen, if he is doing this, then maybe you have to do that.’

“After you go and watch the video, I’m asking them sometimes, ‘what do you see here?’ This is how they improve. It takes time. It’s not something which you will see in one month and that’s it.

“I was a PE teacher and when you teach, you can say ‘you have to do this.’ It’s an order. That’s one way.

“Or you can say, ‘listen, we have these problems, so give me the solution’ and they have to think about it. Or you can say, ‘here are three options - which one is best?’ And he has to choose one.

“It might depend on the player. If the player is very clever, he will think about the problem and come up with a solution. Sometimes you can let him make a mistake. Then they go back and realise we have to do this. The main thing is that they have to think. If they think, they learn.

“It’s what I try to do because I’m 100 per cent convinced that they will improve if they think. It’s not just about following orders.”