Rafa Benitez urges Newcastle fans not to boo captain Jamaal Lascelles
‘We have to support him as much as we can’: Rafa Benitez urges Newcastle fans not to boo captain Jamaal Lascelles after he called for protests against ‘nice guy’ Mike Ashley to stop
- Rafa Benitez urged Newcastle supporters not to boo captain Jamaal Lascelles
- The defender called on fans to stop protesting against the unpopular owner
- Lascelles also said Ashley deciding to take squad out for dinner was a positive
- Benitez hopes fans don’t turn on the player even if they disagree with him
Rafa Benitez has urged Newcastle supporters not to boo captain Jamaal Lascelles after his comments about ‘nice guy’ Mike Ashley.
There has been a backlash in the wake of the defender calling on fans to stop protesting against the unpopular owner inside St James’ Park.
Lascelles also said that Ashley’s decision to take the squad out for dinner last month was a positive step and that he had no issues with him.
Rafa Benitez has urged Newcastle supporters not to boo captain Jamaal Lascelles
The defender called on fans to stop protesting against unpopular owner Mike Ashley
Lascelles also said Ashley’s (R) decision to take the squad out for dinner was a positive step
On Tyneside, however, the animosity towards Ashley is at an all-time high and the 24-year-old’s well-intended rallying cry has angered some sections.
But Benitez believes those supporters would be wrong to turn on the player when they face Watford on Saturday afternoon.
‘Jamaal is giving everything on the pitch, we have to support him as much as we can,’ said the Spaniard.
‘Then, we can agree or not with his opinions. We are talking about the captain of the team, someone who cares. We cannot change our support to this player because he said this, or said that.
‘Some fans booing players does not improve their performance. It can be worse for them. If they don’t feel the pressure of that they play well, and the fans will want them to do well to stay up.
‘They can say whatever after the game, but they have to be sure to give them support.’
Benitez’s side remain winless after the worst start to a top-flight season in the club’s history.
He could have done without the fallout from the interviews Lascelles gave after signing a new six-year contract on Thursday, and he admits the player himself was taken aback by the reaction.
‘They can say whatever after the game, but they have to give them support,’ said Benitez
The fallout came from the interviews Lascelles gave after signing a new six-year contract
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‘I would say he was surprised,’ said Benitez. ‘He did not expect that. It was a straight question (about the dinner). He was being natural, normal and honest. I just told him to concentrate on scoring the winning goal.
‘I understand some fans will not be happy with the situation but we need to find the balance and understand the context of the interview.
‘Then we have to be sure that, next time, he chooses the words to understand the feelings of everyone.
‘But he is a young captain, he is a young lad, the environment was a dinner (with Ashley) and the theory was to create a good atmosphere. You cannot say he knows the owner, his first impression was that, that’s it, he said that.
‘When you go to interviews maybe there’s an issue you cannot control and you don’t know the big picture. It’s difficult. He’s 24 and has to give an opinion about something when he does not know all the details.
‘I think the fans can be upset, but, what message did we send in the Championship and in the Premier League last season? When something was right we said, “Listen, Newcastle United – united”.’
Benitez was then asked if he thought Ashley was a ‘nice guy’, but quickly replied: ‘I am so focused on the game… believe me, it is more important that we get the best from the players than find something they say which is wrong.’
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