Benitez Makes Frank Admission About Newcastle’s Display

Aleksandar Mitrovic’ great headed goal on 83 minutes could be a really vital goal for us since it stopped Sunderland gaining 3 points on Newcastle today.

We again conceded a poor goal in the first half and in the second half we pressed forward – much like we did at Leicester – but this time we finally scored and with just a little bit of luck could have possibly got the winner, but Sunderland saw time out with a little bit of time wasting.

Maybe a draw was a fair enough result and we thought Sunderland played well in this game.


Aleksandar Mitrovic after scoring extremely vital goal

Rafa Benitez will now know there’s still lots of work to do if Newcastle are to be saved from relegation, but we showed good organization and fought all the way in that second half.

Here’s the current league table at the bottom after today’s games.

Crystal Palace38-1242
19 Norwich38-2834
20Aston Villa38-4917

It was suggested that when you look at the above table, it’s  a little bit scary for Newcastle.

This is how Rafa responded to that:

“It was scary before.”   “I am here because I have to give the team confidence and we have to improve things. Again I will say at Leicester, you could see a lot of good things; still not enough.”

“Today in the second half, a lot of good things; not enough.” “We have eight games to play and we know they will be incredibly difficult. We know it will be difficult, for sure. I knew before.”

“We are creating chances, we are attacking and we can be there, so we have to improve this part of the game and create more chances and Aleksandar Mitrovic or Papiss Cisse or the other strikers will score more goals and we will be fine.”

“But I can maybe say that we will have to fight until the last game and the last minute, so we have to do it.”

“I said before that Mitrovic has the potential. We have to help him a little bit with better crosses, better deliveries and support and get closer to him, but he will score goals if we can do that.”

Rafa’s right and it’s still not good enough but we are getting there.

There were a lot of positives in that second half display today – no doubt about that – we looked a decent team but still find it difficult to score.

The big question is whether Rafa can get Newcastle playing well enough before the games run out this season?

That’s the big question with eight games to go.

If we had say 15 games to play it wouldn’t be a problem.

What do you think?

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67 comments so far

  • martoon

    Mar 20, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #1

    I thought Mitrovic was immense today – apart from scoring the winning goal he won a lot of balls in the air but we weren’t picking up the second ball. I think Mitrovic and Cisse could be a good partnership if only Cisse can learn to stay onside 🙂

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 20, 2016 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #2

    Right on, Rafa.

  • cyprus

    Mar 20, 2016 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #3

    Funny how some people wanted Mitro off. The guy was on fire, like a true Geordie.

    Best players- Elliott, Mitro, Gini, sissoko. We were generally second best.

    Well done Rafa for throwing in the kitchen sink. Still, it looks dire.


    Mar 20, 2016 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #4

    rebuilding of team in the summer is there but will it be in premier league or championship is the question we got tougher fixture compared to norwich and sunderland and we just can’t score enough goals and stop conceding goals but compared to the usual 3 or more goals we used to concede in a match under mcclaren has stopped to 1 goal a match now the problem is scoring more than one goal now that’s the problem

  • cyprus

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #5

    Mbemba can’t be voted for MOM. Was at fault for the goal.

  • lesh

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #6

    Yes, before the games run out and if Charnley had done what Norwich, Swansea and Sunderland did before Christmas, Rafa would’ve had more time to sort things out. Those three sides are seeing the benefit of replacing their manager long before Charnley was forced to act.

    If anyone has to be held responsible for what’s becoming a regular relegation it’s Charnley who along with hiring McClaren and clearly kept faith in him, also sanctioned the inadequate signings as recommended by Carr.

    Survive or not, Ashley must replace Charnley with a football savvy MD who has vision, ambition and authority.

  • lesh

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:05 PM

    Comment #7


    Maybe Mitro’s benefited from the specialist striker training he’s said to have had. Maybe Rafa should put all of our strikers through it.

  • Tsunki

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:07 PM

    Comment #8

    First of all, not winning today against the mackems I think signals relegation.

    Sissoko does not read the game, criss well, pass accurately or do anything good with the ball at his feet. Why he gets mentioned in dispatches is baffling.

    That’s enough to keep our team in disarray, whilst others are trying to make something happen.

    Some of these should have been sorted 6months ago.

    Wijnaldum is far too sporadic and ethereal.

    Colback is frightened, frantic and rash

    Perez has reached his level and is weak and unintuitive

    Janmaat is a poor crosser.

  • Tsunki

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    Comment #9

    Good points? Mitrovic has obvious desire. SDJ is intelligent and gels the attacking midfield. Whether he can do anything in the playoffs is another question. Townsend when fit will make a lot of difference to attack. Lascelles has grown immensely and is a genuine prospect.

  • lochinvar

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #10

    Maybe today has just provided a momentum shift ( however small ).
    We came back from 0-1 down and squashed the Mackems bragging rights and on the radio their talk is all about their inability to keep a clean sheet and how disruptive Allardyces substitutions are. It’s knocked their confidence and their doubts and negativity are increasing. While we didn’t get three points we didn’t loose, equalised and restored some faith for Rafa to work with. It’s a start .

  • Jib

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #11

    Quite right
    Post match Fat Sam was bemoaning next weekend’s hiatus as a loss of momentum.
    Whereas Rafa has only been here 9 days and had 2 matches and is really looking forward to working with the squad uninterrupted by matches for 15 days .

  • Magtoonpie

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    Comment #12

    Kept us from losing the derby, so that’s a huge improvement. Well just have to get the win next season when we play the derby in the championship. It’s a shame get got Rafa so late, glimpses of what could be will just make what is looking like a fall so much harder. On a positive note most players gave it all and I am happy with the result just wish we had more games…

  • Tsunki

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    Comment #13

    If I was a mackem ( ugh) I would be deeply worried that S**derland couldn’t beat this team.

    We’ve had much better teams against the scum from the Wear and lost. They are also in trouble. They are my favourites to join us hand in hand as we go down.

  • 21st Century Schizoid Man

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:28 PM

    Comment #14


    Yes the draw today may well signal relegation, but we’ve still got 8 to go, so its far from certain. It’s probably out of our hands now – fr’instance the Palace Norwich game will decide who we are competing against for the 3rd relegtion place. I astill think 36 pts may keep us up and 38 pts almost vertinly will. The Unwashed need 4 wins – and are in anything but winning form 3 wins and and they’re down. I’m not optimistic either, but the rot has been stopped. Just need to bang them in now..

    A 2-0 win at Carrow Road and we ar elevel wirth Norwich and equal GD. It ain’t over til the fat referee blows the whistle….

  • Magtoonpie

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:29 PM

    Comment #15

    We should have kicked them down instead we dragged them down with us today.

  • MadisonToon

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:31 PM

    Comment #16


    You are blaming a single person for that goal? Interesting choice.

  • G

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    Comment #17

    Mitro worked, but MOM? Not for me, frankly I didnt think Mitro would be on the field long, was begging for a red card, as was Weasly Colback. Sissoko needs to be shot, and for foxtrots sake stop playing Perez inmidfield against phyical midfielders, he just gets bullied too easily. We need physical midfielders, not potentially tricky forwards played out of position. All in all, I expected better from Rafa, a draw was a fair result, but we needed brawn for this one, and it was sadly missing for most of the game.

  • Thump

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #18

    @Tsunki: Especially given how poor we were in the first half. A few Mackem’s I know say it was a fair result, but that they reckon they had more about them and we were poor all game.

    “And you still couldn’t beat us.”
    “Well, aye, but…”

    No buts: we were poor and you still struggled. That’s as far as it goes.

  • Magtoonpie

    Mar 20, 2016 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #19

    G. I can agree with you on Perez they make him look out of league and actually colback’s yellow was something was something that will def force some very much needed changes. I actually like sissokos last few performances and I would never have put him at lb but I think he would add more threat to the left side which is much needed. Widjnaldum plays better on the right complimenting Mitro who played outstanding today just go a few bad calls against him by that mackem lovin ref.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #20

    Mitrovic was anonymous first-half and got bullied right up until he scored, when he for once used his noggin and peeled off onto the far post against a smaller man, their fullback. Plenty of leg-work from him today, but he usually has that at home, it’s away when he jogs about flapping his arms and sulking. Funny how a goal can alter perceptions of the bigger picture.

    Perez is a CF and nothing else, a poacher on the last man’s shoulder and sniffing things out in the box. Sick of seeing him on the wing or in the hole, really not his game and his confidence and fans confidence in him is on the decline because of it.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #21

    As I already said a good performance against 12 men.

    Mitrovic was very good but was being manhandled all the time by their defense.

    Atkinson had a clear sight of the pull back on him in the second half, clear cut pen. but then we never get them as the refs are under instruction not to award them to us.

    Having said that he should have scored with that header in the first few minutes, those chances have to be converted, not ifs or buts about it.

    Just what is it with Shelvey though, the times he nearly tripped over the ball was unbelievable.

    Cisse coming on seemed to help up our game so perhaps he ought to start against Norwich.

    Two weeks for Rafa to sort us out a bit more.

    8 wins should do the trick. 🙂

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    Comment #22

    Gotta smile, HBA scored another solo worldy for Nice tonight.

  • manxpie

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #23

    lesh norwich haven’t changed their manager but yes we should have changed alot earlier

  • nufcursed

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #24

    we need some changes to avoid relegation:

    janmaat is a liability, can’t cross
    mbemba and lascelles are decent CB’S
    colback is a substitute at best
    sissoko MUST be dropped no skills whatsoever
    shelvey is not as good as many on here think: he’s too slow
    wijnaldum is overaten: too absent in games
    townsend only one who looks threatening
    perez: better on the wing than in the middle
    mitrovic: if he’d had a better team around him he’d be on 10+ goals

    also de jong needs to be a 1st 11 player or at least given a start, he’s more intelligent than anyone else we’ve got

  • manxpie

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #25

    hail in a far far shitter league mate

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #26

    Oh and my heart was in my mouth when Mitro took his shirt off as for some reason I thought he already had a yellow card.

    Borini conned the ref into given Colback his yellow card and should have been booked for simulation when he tried it on again against Colback in the box but as has been pointed out already Atkinson is a Mackem

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:15 PM

    Comment #27


    You say that like he never scored them here. Plus you really overrate the PL. No other major European league is far far shitter. Biggest mishalndling of a situation was the debacle with him, ultimately letting him go for free. Scapegoated and character assassinated by the plum Pardew, despite HBA digging him and us out of trouble on numerous occasions. Exactly what we miss right now, moments of inspiration, match winners, belief givers.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #28

    Hatem’s goal. He was skinning people in this league, Manx. Footballing crime he was scapegoated by an idiot who is also being found out with record breaking runs at his new club.

    Long live Hatem.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #29

    He’s still better than Thauvin, Cabella, and Townsend combined. Now count up how much was spent on them.

    Well done, Hatem. Always a fan.

  • addistoon

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:23 PM

    Comment #30

    I see best player of the match is rather fit than man of the match as there were no man on the pitch
    it baffles me how a $hit sissocko manages to be be the most creative force in the team bar jonjo
    but I dearly hope the new coach makes the best of this 1 week session to truly bring out the best of these sluggish players..fingers crossed.

  • martoon

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #31

    Hail Wor Ashley @20 – I can’t agree about Mitrovic as I said earlier he was battling against 2 defenders and won a lot of balls we just were not picking up his flicks.
    Essex Geordie Bill @26 – I agree about Colback he was fired up but Borini was diving to the floor every time he went near him.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #32

    MOM for Sland was M Atkinson

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:34 PM

    Comment #33


    Gotta love the glib “he turned it on once every ten games” line know-nothings use to dismiss him. Seriously lazy thinkers that just repeat clap-trap because it makes them feel like they sound informed. No basis in reality, just vacuous bollocks based on nothing other than reputation and shite sticking if repeated often enough.

    I have a theory it’s the people that were always shite at football and had no skills so got stuck in goal or picked last growing up, that love to put him down. If they can chat shite, so can I 😆

    When they use that phrase, turn up, ask what they actually mean, probably win the match single-handedly or salvage a draw single-handedly, a measure by which no other player is or was judged by. If other players in the team did that occasionally, you’d be at the sharp end.

    Like you, always a fan of his and it’s bitter-sweet to see him doing it elsewhere.

  • Thump

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:39 PM

    Comment #34

    @Hail: Not entirely untrue, though I think he turned it on all the time, it just didn’t come off every game. The most infuriating thing people say about King Arfa is that he was done after the leg break. They all seem to forget his immediate impact upon returning to the first team.

    To think we lost a player of his ability to a manager like fscking Pardew. Amazing.

  • croftus5678

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:43 PM

    Comment #35

    i wont call anyone today as they all did me proud but my standouts are;

    mitrovic and sissoko for the fact they get so much biased grief but both made a huge impact on the team today !

    siem had prob his best game for us in the prem however i still think we are carrying him some and imo perez/wijnaldum have a lot better overall effect than him so if one player could be left out imo its him.

    cisse and mitro look mouthwatering imo what one lacks the other makes up for and we looked a lot more dangerous with both on the field.

  • Toon Tang

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:45 PM

    Comment #36

    A few half shandy’s later and I can now talk about the game.

    Benitez should surely go down in toon history as the first manager in how long to even grab a goal never mind a point. My lord, my arse was doing the 5p 50p 5p 50p around 80 mins thinking this aint going to happen.

    What a leap and head by the lad though. I was just waiting for it to get pulled by the knobheed ref as he’d given them everything all game.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    Comment #37

    Hail, my friend and I call him The Spirit of Football because tries to play the game with beauty and style. We have been planning a ‘Hatem Lives’ tour where we’ll drive to France to see him play.

    I also have him on the back of my new Newcastle Fans shirt. Gutted that we cannot witness his sublime skills anymore.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    Comment #38

    Thump, I absolutely agree.

  • Toon Tang

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    Comment #39

    Plus I swear if I ever see that little 4 year awld girly dick head borini I will give him something serious to scream about.

    Did you hear the little prick screaming every time he went down. Should be banned for life and chucked in a cell with Johnson the raging idiot

  • Toon Tang

    Mar 20, 2016 at 8:52 PM

    Comment #40

    And aye I’m now certain after today that Sisoko has something written into his contract to say he can’t be dropped or subbed no matter how shite his performances are. I hadn’t seen what a lot on here was seeing from him but today opened my eyes fully. There was a couple of times win he could have driven into the box with the ball and he tripped over his own feet and gave it away. Absolute waste of a shirt


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