The Newcastle United Blog

News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

Rafa Benitez’ Issues Firm Directive To His Players

8:50 am, Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 58 Comments

When you are struggling as much as Newcastle United are this season, usually the thing to do is to go back to basics and do the simple things well.

And with his enormous experience in coaching football for over 30 years, Rafa Benitez is telling his players to keep it simple and not try to do difficult stuff which usually will not come off – which Rafa calls Hollywood passes.

rafa benitez thunbs up

Rafa Benitez – keep it simple lads

Benitez told BBC Radio Newcastle that he wants his players to keep things very simple:

“If you remember the game, the first 10-15 minutes we were fine,” “We were not bad, but we made one or two mistakes – bad decisions – and we gave them belief that they could create something.”

“When we were a little bit nervous and started making two or three mistakes – a throw in or a free-kick, a chance to push or attack.”

“When you are in a situation like this you have to keep it simple.”“You cannot make mistakes. You have to play simple.”

“Maybe you will not find the Hollywood pass, but you cannot give the ball away easily and give them hope that they can win. After 10-15 minutes, we started making mistakes.”

“When I was talking with them about these things, I thought we could manage.” “But we made these mistakes in the first half and we made the mistakes late in the second half.”

“So that is something that we have to address and change.” “Again, I would say it’s not easy when you are at the bottom of the table and people are nervous and they are going trying to win the ball and making these silly fouls.”

“We have to improve these things.”

Rafa seems to be saying all the right things to his players, but we wonder if they can take them in and execute quickly enough during the upcoming games the way Rafa wants them to.

That´s especially difficult when they are under pressure and nervous.

But for us to avoid the drop they must take on board what Rafa is saying very quickly and start doing the right things.

The players need to show they are made of the right stuff.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Southampton?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Tags: Coaching · Management · Prayer · Premier League

58 responses so far ↓

  • 1 SPRINGY // Apr 6, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    rash and stupid fouls is something they have done all season….especially in dangerous positions or at unnecessary times,it is one of the things that really windes me up.

  • 2 Jib // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    springy wound up

    Ha ha ha

  • 3 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Springy. Against the Mackems we must have done it 5 times in the first half. Always on our left, 10-15 yards from our box.
    Stupid fouls diving in when all that was needed was to stay on your feet and defend. Not there’s a free kick for you now load all your players into our box.
    I was going mental.

  • 4 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    Rafa we hear needs time. How much time to you need to stop that sort of thing.
    Why does it happen. I think it’s simply part of not being good enough.
    If your under pressure you end up doing daft things.

  • 5 Magpie Season // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Wow almost 70% think we’ll lose.

  • 6 Jib // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    Remember Mick for all his NUFC connections is still a Liverpool fan.
    All Liverpool fans after Istanbul 2005 believe Rafa can work miracles.

  • 7 Magpie Season // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:26 AM


    ^ It’s such an excuse.

    Swansea’s new manager came in & in his 2nd game they beat Everton away. They have managed a win away at Arsenal & beaten relegation rivals Norwich & Villa. Last game they came back from 2 down to level with Stoke. They have been safe for a long time now.

    What they did:
    1. Sold Shelvey. One of their key first team players.
    2. Dropped Gomis.
    3. Dropped Montero.

    Rafa is not at fault here. See for yourself that the players don’t show any effort whatsoever. Just a tad more than Villa’s players. I watched the Norwich game. Even commentator was saying Cisse was the closing down high up the pitch & no one with him.

  • 8 martoon // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:31 AM

    SPRINGY @1- You’re right – two of the goals Norwich scored resulted from needless free kicks given away practically on the touchline where there was no immediate danger – still boils my p*ss thinking about it now!

  • 9 Wayayman // Apr 6, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    Martoon Springy & Posada, yep. In fact didn’t Leicester’s goal come from a needless (Colback?) foul in the exact same position that he gave away in the Mackem’s game, which Tioite then repeated against Norwich.
    For all the video analysis these players are given after each game, it makes you wonder if they even look at it. Or care.

    Who was it recently on Soccer Am talking about the video they’d make available to all of their players after each game? A young coach or manager I think. He said that they have an app that the analyst made especially for the club so that each player could log in and see their own specially edited showreel from each game, highlighting good and bad things from it alongside the heat maps, stats etc. he said that the really interesting thing was that they could see if the players had actually looked at it or not, and for how long.

  • 10 SPRINGY // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    ive said it all season,i just put it down to lack of intelligence…they must review the games and these stupid fouls must be gettin pointed out to them and yet they keep doing it….the worse ones are where the oppositions defenders are struggling to clear and the players just barge in the back of them and give them an easy out by free kick when they are really struggling,its ridiculous how daft they must be to keep doing the same over and over and never seem to learn……nice one jib by the way!lol

  • 11 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Our defence has been shocking all season long and Rafa has made it even worse due to to the pathetic zonal marking system that he has, when has a zone ever scored a goal ffs, look at the Norwich goals and the space each had when scoring, our lot where to frightened to leave there zone which gave them far too much space in our box, Taylor is fantastic at making himself big and diving in where it hurts, but not against Norwich due to being in the wrong zone.

  • 12 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Its the lack of effort that really annoys me we dont ever seem to press as a team although on the odd occasions that we do we usually get the win !

  • 13 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Interesting I honestly think they got rid of him because he was too outspoken he would have got plenty of games this season and would have offered a lot more than Colback, Anita and Sissoko combined !!!

  • 14 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:19 AM


    and why does Sissoko get as much stick for a lack of effort when Wijnaldum’s effort has been non existent since October yet never a bad word said about him.

  • 15 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    The club dropped two major clangers in firstly allowing the mildly insane John Carver to manage the team for four months and then getting a failed and sacked Championship manager in to repair the damage. The funds were there to bring in a top manager during the summer but there was no intentions of bringing in someone who could deliver success. The idea was to get a manager who would not put obstacles in the way of Ashleys master plan. Mclaren must have known it wasn’t going to work yet still took the job on in his desperation to manage in the PL again.

  • 16 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    The goons that allowed 80M to be spent with only one defender bought have made it worse!

  • 17 sula // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:28 AM


    many comments have been made about wini and how he has gone into hiding for the last 10 games or so. What i want to know is why rafa will not bench these fools. we have to try something different. Fans are bleeding if only these players could feel what we feel i would love to play each of these 7 games for free to keep us in the prem.

  • 18 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    If Ashley has as little to do with the club as he claims then why does he not put us up for sale?

  • 19 anthc // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    Colbacks forte is letting his man get past him then through his lack of pace puts his arm around them/across them giving away free kicks. He does it all the time, gets right on my tripe. We have no height neither which is another reason why we are crap at set pieces.
    We have been let down badly by this bunch of clowns, why benitez would come anywhere near us is beyond me (possibly the large amount of money).
    For me we were down after Bournemouth destroyed us and any little glimmer of hope was lost when we failed to beat the scum. I no longer talk about nufc anymore as it just makes me angry and spoils my day. Why on earth did I keep my season ticket? #mugnufcfan.

  • 20 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    The quality of the squad is so shockingly poir a few of the players are undroppable

  • 21 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:32 AM


    not strengthening the defence has been costly, probably cost us our PL status I couldn’t possibly disagree with your there, but I tell you what Rafa hasn’t helped yet not one iota, at this stage of the season to introduce an entirely new system was madness, and that is down to Rafa, hopefully the system kicks in in time and we survive but sadly I believe that I am clutching at straws.

  • 22 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    We are all being conned once again. Now the sound bite is Rafa needs time.
    Toite. Needless free kicks. Makes no effort.Watch a video of goals conceded. He’s normally 2-3 yards behind an opposition player making a run. Not interested and just jogging.
    How much time do you need to sort that out. I’ll tell you – 30 seconds. That’s how much time you need to tell him he’s a waste of space and he’s dropped.

  • 23 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    I don’t think there are any straws left to clutch and the situation is worse than desperate when people are pointing the finger at the manager purely because there’s no pint in blaming Ashley, Charnley etc.

  • 24 Jib // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    In the late nineties FIFA set up a group to look at the alarming nimber of career ending cumulative injuries , to strikers , in the main. A prime example was Marco van Basten who retired officially at 30 after spending the majority of his last 4 years in the game in the treatment room.
    The group started looking at Serie A but soon extended their brief to all of Europe.
    Their conclusion was that tackling from behind should be eradicated from the game.
    From the 1998 World Cup in France referees were told that tackling from behind was to be an offence.
    IT STILL IS !!!
    Players pointing at the ball claiming they got it , is irrelevant if the tackle was from behind.
    If an attacker backs into a defender, that defender should back off.
    The free kick and yellow card count last night in the all Spanish CL semi at the Camp Nou emanating from bad tackles was unreal.

  • 25 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    We went after a LB as a PR stunt another case of the club thinking that if they can fool the fans everythings ok

  • 26 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:37 AM


    I will get slaughtered for this but I would bring in Obertan, drop Townsend as he is a waste of space, I said that before we signed him and sadly I have been proved right, so I would have Obertan on the right with Aarons on the left which would give Shelvey targets to aim for and if Shelvey hits his targets as I am sure he would then these two on the wings would be ideal for Mitro in the middle

  • 27 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    Obtetoron our saviour

  • 28 cyprus // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Yeah, they offloaded overrated Shelvey… wonder which suckers got him.

    “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.” N. Kazantzakis.

  • 29 sula // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:40 AM


    I agree that the squad is poor but we cant allow players who are just on the pitch to make up numbers piss around. Honestly in that norwich game i forgot he was even on the itch hardly saw him. Why not let others come in and just go with something different who knows what could happen.


    You bang on mate Rafa really hasnt changed to much for either we looked better against leicester no doubt but his selections for Norwich game had me pulling my hair out Taylor instead of lascelles why???? cisse instead of Mitro hes a young lad WANTING to play for this team thats what we need players who are passionate and will scream at other players on the pitch.

  • 30 cyprus // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    they (before you) was all good at the talk. The walking was harder, know what I mean?

  • 31 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:43 AM

  • 32 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    You think that interview that Rafa gave was just talking the talk. He sounded genuinely passionate to me.

  • 33 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:48 AM


    in fairness to Ashley I don’t blame him for this season, Charnley is another matter, it was obvious well before Christmas that we were in deep trouble especially away from home and it was obvious that Macca was not going to change his sit back and lose the game policy which he had, he should have gone then and allowed the newe manager a bit more time and an opportunity to get a couple of players in which are suited to his style, I mentioned the zonal marking system, with a couple of players bought in January who were used to that system then we may not have been where we were when we finally got shot of Macca, that is Charnley, no one else bar him, but as it stands Rafa has disappointed me, Norwich was arguably the worst we have been all season, and that is saying a lot.

  • 34 Magpie Season // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Jail @31,


  • 35 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    We all knock the clubs recruitment policy but they’ve done really well in putting together a team of Champiinship level players, great forward planning for our arrival there.

  • 36 cyprus // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    Your friend MA sounded pretty passionate too. It ain’t passion we need, it’s brains, tactics and ability. We haven’t got that.

    Talk on the field, not in a room. Rafa.

  • 37 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    It was going to take something radical and brave. I had hoped Rafa would have been big enough to do that.
    Windjammer, Big Siss and Toite out.
    Arons and Doumbia in.
    Seems he has to have his big names even if they are the non tryers.

  • 38 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    Ashley has had nine years in the game, he has implemented a clear strategy that anyone with a bit of football nous would tell him was not working. That is exactly why he has hired Charnley. The man himself said last May that the buck stops with him. Why don’t you believe him. Is it because he changed his mind last month?

  • 39 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    When did he sound passionate. Bolting carts to horses was so devoid of any passion that it was almost sinister.

  • 40 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    In 2006 / 07 Roeder took over and played Edgar, Huntingdon, Chopra, a young Stephen Taylor. We went on a great run. At least all 11 were at it.
    Pick a team with 3 or 4 non tryers, even big name ones and you are screwed.

  • 41 cyprus // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    Disagree. Rafa is more passionate after 5 minutes at the club?!

    But it doesn’t matter.

    Passion is very important. It can sell all by itself. But you need more than that.

    PS. I know your heart’s at the right place mate. It’s just that I’ve lost patience with them all. Rafa has already made some blunders. Think about the Norwich game. He needs to perform here and now, forget past glories.

    Anyway, off for now.

  • 42 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    They should have shifted the bad apples who clearly don’t want to be here like Collo and Sissoko, instead they gave our cowardly captain and extension, the only extensions he should have been given were ones that he didn’t need.

  • 43 SPRINGY // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    i think it was said somewhere that mitro was late back from international duty and cisse had more time training with team,set plays and things like that…thats why cisse got the nod ahead of mitro apparently….taylor on the other hand..nee idea,can only be lascelles was struggling for one reason or another…but we dont see what happens in training…although taylor playing was a head scratcher we need to let rafa get on with it,and hope he finds a solution.

  • 44 Spoof // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:08 AM


    no m8, the reason I don’t blame him is due to the fact that he did this season put the money up front, granted the men who he had spending that money were piss poor at their jobs, so yes Ashley still has to shoulder some of the blame but with the money that was spent you really do have to look at who spent it, they were the ones who put us where we are now, not Ashley, for the first time since he has been here he did splash some cash and he has recieved an almighty kick in the nads for doing so, Carr, Charnley and McClaren are for more liable for our current plight than what Ashley is.

  • 45 SPRINGY // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:14 AM

    rafa has came in and had 3 tough games,league leaders,local rivals and relegation rivals,and the sad thing all them sides wanted to win more then our lot…hope for better on saturday.

  • 46 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:16 AM


    Yeah I think Sissoko gets more of a hard time than anyone because of the shite he spouts about thinking he should be playing Champions League etc

    But for me Wijnaldum stopped trying after the Chelsea game when he got taken off he has been sulking ever since but his confidence looks shattered

    I think Benitez has been conned by these players who seem to do the business in training and then in a game let the team down

    Why not bench both and start De Jong and someone else who are desperate for a game !?

  • 47 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    We’ll have to agree to disagree mate. Charnley and Mclaren weren’t in charge the last time we went down or the season we nearly went down after that. There has been one constant in this whole sorry affair.

  • 48 Thump // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    @moonraker: (from a few threads back if you’re still about) the forward selection worked after three subs and a change of formation. I actually think it would have been an easier decision to start 4-4-2 against Norwich than Southampton can’t afford to lose the midfield.

  • 49 Wayayman // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    Remember the days when you could hear players shouting instructons at each other on the pitch. Even on tv the close-ups would have someone growling and barking at his team mates. Most recently it was Barton & Nolan and sadly that is what we are lacking and have done for a while now. Shelvey just scowls around, hunched shoulders and giving the evil eyes to the ref or oppo. Like Gini said in that interview last month, the players aren’t a team and they’re more interested in themselves.

    On another note, it winds me up no end when players (Janmaat mainly) windmills his arms to get the fans ‘up’ and shouting. One day it will dawn on him that if they did more on the pitch, the crowd will react. Just show some fight, some heart and we’ll do the same. We’re battered and brow-beaten by the lack of fire and passion for at least 5 years and it’s come down to this.

  • 50 Lindisfarne // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Ever since Sissoko arrived he has been played in every game he has been available, with the result that I the last 2-3 months of the season he runs out of steam. His stamina has improved slightly but the performance of the team still suffers. I expect Wijnaldum will be the same as thus is his first season. Are these player contractually obliged to be in the starting line up?

  • 51 SPRINGY // Apr 6, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    thats a good question to be fair,why else would players be kept in the side when they obviously are not playing well….some may argue that the depth of the squad is so shallow that these are best we have even when playing badly…could be that the managers are just playing “the big names”and hoping they play well as opposed to dropping “the big names” and upset them and if it doe’snt work get grief from players,fans,press….just a thought like.

  • 52 geordie157 // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    vs Southampton…

    Janmaat, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett
    Tiote, Shelvey
    Townsend, De Jong, Aarons

    Drop Sissoko and Wijnaldum

  • 53 toon kk // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    Do you think we’ll still be in the premier league next season? How good do you think we are?

  • 54 scout // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    What a load of crap about Sissoko being burnt out. We have had loads of rest no cup runs, no champions league or uefa cup.

    Get a grip they dont wanna know, any of them there is a real problem behind the scenes at Newcastle.

    Team spirit is zero

  • 55 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Team spirit is zero because half of them only joined to get a bigger move.

  • 56 Jail for Ashley // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Sissoko has been mouthing off for years about a CL how can the management fine him or even bollick him when that’s what they sold him the club with.

  • 57 posada // Apr 6, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    Geordie at 52.
    Not a bad line up but how can you include Toite.
    Hooked in the last game as he was totally crap.

  • 58 Moonraker15 // Apr 6, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    Don’t get me wrong I think Mitro should’ve played but if he gets 2 every game coming on at half time I’ll take it. My point is we lost the game because of piss poor defending and we conceded 2 in the second half when he was on yhe field. How many times have we conceded in stoppage time in each half or just after halftime due to lack of concentration? Frustrating, but I still think our losing run will end at Southampton !

previous post: Rob Elliot In Great Spirits After Surgery – On The Mend

next post: Financial Results Show Newcastle Make Healthy Profit