Sean Longstaff wants everybody involved with Newcastle United to forget about Rafael Benitez and begin moving forward.
Benitez left St James’ Park after more than three years in charge when his contract expired following the end of last season.
The Spaniard claimed Newcastle’s hierarchy failed to share his vision, and angry supporters staged protests over the situation at the club.
Magpies owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley hit back at Benitez, describing the former Champions League winner’s subsequent move to Dalian Yifang as being motivated by money. Benitez rejected the accusation.
Promising midfielder Longstaff thinks the time has come to move on in search of a first competitive victory under new boss Steve Bruce.
“I was speaking to Rafa throughout the summer and ultimately I think everyone wanted him to stay,” Longstaff told Sky Sports.
“But that’s football. Things change and ultimately he didn’t want to stay.
“It’s in the past now and I think everybody, as harsh as it sounds, has to sort of forget about him, as tough as that can be.
SB on last week’s defeat to @NorwichCityFC: “We didn’t play well enough – quite simply. And I think the players fully understand that. It’s a bit early for soul searching – we have to perform better than we did last week, and I’m sure we will.” #NUFC pic.twitter.com/FMsZEVbm4Q
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 23, 2019
“We’ve spent a lot of the start of the season talking about Rafa and he’s not here.
“Ultimately he doesn’t have an impact on the team or football club at this time.
“If the team start picking up results, everything will look more positive and people will forget about the previous manager, as long as we’re successful on the pitch.”
Longstaff broke into the Newcastle first team under Benitez, making nine Premier League appearances last season, but dropped to the bench for last weekend’s concerning 3-1 defeat at Norwich City.
The 21-year-old hopes an “honest chat” in the aftermath of that result can be the foundation for a better showing away to Tottenham on Sunday.
“We’re not panicking and everyone is working as hard as they can to make each other better,” he said.
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