Thanks to our network of talented TF devotees we’ve been able to get this interview translated from Spanish to English.
For the Spanish speakers who need no such translation you can get at the televised interview by just clicking here.
For those us who speak only English we have Norman Riley to thank for the translation. You can watch the filmed interview (Rafa is in his office at the training ground in case you were wondering) and read the accompanying translation and explanation if you choose. Eyes down for a full house:
The presenter then goes on to give some stats:
An average of 1.89 points per match. These figures include the 10 matches from last season which bring the average down from 2 points per match.
The presenter then states that Rafa has brought balance to the side out and this is a great achievement for a club with a great history in England.
One of the interviewers then asks Rafa the first question, addressing him as ‘El Profesor’. This could be because he’s a qualified teacher but I guess it’s out of respect! The question is about how the season must have gone slowly given that there were so many games.
Rafa states that there were a load of games, not just the 46 league games but also the cup games and that there’s no let up as you’re playing 2 games per week, 3 times in 10 days. This leaves hardly any time for preparation. He believes the season was tiring but it passed quickly because you played continuously.
The interviewer then tells Rafa that him and his colleagues have been discussing the competitiveness of the 2nd divisions in the big leagues of Europe, i.e. Spain, Italy, France, Germany and England. He tells Rafa the English 2nd division seems highly competitive and asks Rafa what he thinks.
Rafa confirms that for that level it’s very competitive – it has good players, good teams and teams that are very competitive. He states that the teams are physical, strong and that each ball is fought over and that if you were to take one of the teams from it and transfer them to one of the leagues mentioned that they’d do well.
The interviewer then asks Rafa about his experience not just on the sporting side as he came in to a complicated situation and decided to stay on at a club outside the top level.
Rafa states that it’s been a really enjoyable experience because of the loyalty and affection that he has had from the fans and it was that affection which made him and his team decide to stay and get the club back to the top level even though they knew it would be tough given how hard the division is. He fought to show that with a good group working together could win things in any division.
The interviewer then asks about the condition in which the team return to the Premier League given that it’s not a small club coming up but a big club that went to the 2nd division. He asks Rafa how important it is to be at the top level.
Rafa states that it is clearly a big club and the big difference in football at the top level during the last few years has been the TV money which obviously meant it was really important for the club to get back up as we’re having to compete with clubs who, in theory, would be at the lower end are now strong, they’re financially strong and this presents a big challenge. He states that obviously the teams at the top are almost impossible to compete with right now but we can compete with the teams in the middle of the table right now.
The interviewer then ask about which areas will require improvement to be competitive in the PL.
Rafa states that the key for the team is balance. He mentions that the team has scored a lot of goals (joint with Fulham) and conceded the least amount (together with Brighton) and that this shows how well-balanced the side is which will be key in the PL. What is fundamental is to develop that balance and evolve it in to a team that will do well in the upcoming year.
The interviewer then asks him about competing against the PL coaches at the top level, people with whom he has competed in the past.
Rafa answers what is for sure is that trainer/coach is reliant on the team and that it’s always easy for the press to build-up a match as a confrontation between coaches, to say that it’s a battle between Benitez and Mourinho, between Guardiola and Benitez, between Conte and Benitez, and that during games this can sometimes be used as an advantage. However, the reality is that it’s usually, by the end of the season, the squad that has the better players which does best.
The interviewer then asks about the current ‘extrajudicial’ issues at the club and how this might impact on the squad for next season.
Rafa gives a very short answer stating that there’s no specific accusation against anyone and that it refers to occurrences from the 2011-13 period. Right now things are clear, we have a sporting project and he doesn’t think what’s happened in the past will impact on what’s happening now.
The interviewer states that Rafa has clearly united himself with the support and he has its full backing but what guarantees will he be looking for from the owners for the upcoming season.
Rafa states that, as the interviewer says, the supporters are on-board and this is superb. With regards to the owner he states that he has a meeting with him in due course in order to really understand what his objectives are, what ambition he has and to try to fit them in with ‘our’ (Rafa and his team’s) project, objectives and way of getting them done, how things will be going forward and how quickly or slowly progress will be. He states ‘this is really the key for this meeting – to find out where we want to be’.
The interviewer then asks Rafa about life in Newcastle, and mentions his previous stint in Liverpool and whether Newcastle reminds him of it.
Rafa states both cities have similarities. They’re both cities of working people and the way people follow the clubs is similar. It’s a one-club city and therefore there’s no division of opinion over 2 teams in the same league. The supporters follow their club and it can be the focus of the week. It’s a city that has an English climate – it rains like the majority of English cities but that the weather doesn’t impact on training. He states that they live close to the training base in order to arrive as quickly as possible every day. It has restaurants, tapas restaurants with Spanish staff, Italian restaurants – a bit of everything like most cities. Lindisfarne, where the first Vikings to England landed, is close by. It has many castles, one in the city, many bridges over the river. Nothing extraordinary in terms of ancient monuments but lots of history, culture and tradition. The castle they visited in the city is phenomenal.
‘They explain to you how they climbed the stairs and how they carried their swords from left to right – things that you don’t understand or know but have been important for the history and tradition. It’s a normal English city with culture, tradition and history.’
The interviewer then asks how the Spanish restaurants and tapas are in Newcastle!?
Rafa states that the places him and his team go are good. He says that they don’t go out all the time as they’re working but when they do they’re treated very well.
Interviewer finishes by stating Rafa is always welcome on the programme and thank him.
Many thanks again to Norman Riley for his translation.