There’s no doubting Siem de Jong’s ability and the two appearances he has made under Rafa Benitez as a substitute showed that Siem is a good player with experience, but he has never been able to hold down a regular place in the first team since he arrived from Ajax for £6M almost two years ago.
But Rafa has immediately turned to the more experienced and talented players in Newcastle’s squad and Siem – who wasn’t even in the 18 man squad when we lost to Bournemouth – will get a huge opportunity for the rest of the season under new manager Rafa Benitez.
Siem can score goals too – even from free kicks – so if Rafa can get him playing well in that number 10 role Siem could become an unlikely hero.
Siem de Jong – could become the unlikely hero
And Rafa likes to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation so he has used the classic number 10 in his teams for many years now.
Siem has admitted it is a big plus for him that Rafa has arrived:
“I think it’s good for me. I just came back from a strange injury on the eye but I am happy to be back in the team.” “The manager talks to me about what he wants. That’s good, and I think he’s doing well to get the team to play the way he wants.”
“It’s difficult when you come in mid-season. If you have a pre-season to put in the way you want to play as a manager, you have more time.” “But now we need to get ready for the next game. During the two weeks before the next game he will probably try to influence the team more.”
“We’re all close and it will probably be a fight until the last day, but we need points in the next game. Otherwise the gap could grow too much.” “We have two weeks to prepare for it. We are confident. We have shown good things in the last two games, but we need to improve and get the bad things out.”
“We have conceded two goals from set-plays and we have to get that out. In regular play we don’t give away too many chances.” “The last part of the Sunderland game gave us hope. “The fans were with us, unfortunately, we couldn’t make it 2-1 – but the mood is growing. Everybody sees what the manager’s influence is.”
“But we need to improve, we need luck sometimes and force it as well. We were happy with 1-1 but when you see the last few minutes of the game we were unlucky and didn’t get the big chance to score for 2-1.”
“But we were dangerous around the box and probably should have had a few more chances.”
The next game at Norwich is huge, if only because it will tell us if Newcastle are improving quickly enough under Rafa that an escape against relegation is indeed possible.
A defeat would be tragic – but a draw would be decent and a win is what we all want to see – that would be a monumental result and Rafa’s first win at Newcastle.
And a win would bring us level on points with Norwich and if we won by more than two goals we would even go above them in the league on goal difference.
But that’s asking a lot from a side that has lost 12 of our 15 games on the road and only scored seven goals in the process.
If we cannot improve that record in the final five away games of the season we will be relegated – and deserve to be too.
But we expect Newcastle to improve a lot in the final eight games and fight all the way to save out Premier League status.
That’s still more than possible.
Howay The Lads!!