Speaking on the Getting Messi podcast, Jamaal Lascelles has shared why training ground bust-ups were more common under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
The Magpies captain was asked about the biggest training bust-up he’d ever seen, and despite not giving a clear answer on what was the biggest fight he saw, he opened up on the fact that there were often spats during Benitez’s final season at the club.
“We sent through a spell, was it last year? No not last year the year before. We went through a spell where, I don’t know what it was, I think it was the level of competitiveness in training,” Lascelles said.
“Because we were just getting after it and everyone was hungry and you know, things used to always spark up where people lash out and then grab each other and then it’d get broken up, but it was nothing too crazy.”
It’s never great to hear that players were lashing out at each other, but it’s part and parcel of being a competitor.
Perhaps that’s why Newcastle were better under Benitez, he instilled a competitive nature into the players, and as Lascelles says, everyone was hungry.
Now, we’re not saying that this isn’t the case under Bruce, but as strange as this may sound, it’s almost encouraging to hear that the players were getting so fired up in training.
Of course, we never want to see players fighting on the training ground, especially with their own teammates, but that sort of fire in a player’s belly is vital to a team’s success.
Benitez’s training seems to have had that sort of effect on the players, and perhaps that’s why so many Magpies supporters still miss the Spaniard at St James’ Park.