Rafa Benitez To Concentrate On This As Next Priority

Rafa Benitez surprisingly joined the club just over four weeks ago to try to save us from relegation and he took the job because he thought it was a massive challenge and that we had some good players and he thought he could save us.

Well it’s turning out to be a massive challenge for the very experienced manager and we’re sure he expected more than one point from the first four games in charge – but that’s what’s happened and we have one point from the last 21 points played for.

Yesterday’s defeat was our 10th defeat on the trot in away games in all competitions – an embarrassing and pathetic record.

rafa benitez southampton

Rafa Benitez yesterday
Oh my God – what are they doing

Here’s what Rafa said after the game and you can tell the rubbish the players are producing is simply not good enough:

“I am already thinking about changing something for the next one because playing this way, we can’t get points away.”

“But we have four games at home I want to concentrate on the next one at home.” “Hopefully with the fans behind us it will be easier to do things the way we want to do it.”

“So, I think it is not the time to complain and blame each other, it is the time to realise we have to stick together.”

“We have four home games and that is the key if we want to stay in the Premier League.” “I was really disappointed and upset.”

“We started the game really poorly.” “We were talking about playing the 90 minutes with concentration and focus and not making mistakes.”

“We started the game, making a massive mistake.” “The first half was really, really poor in everything.” “You should not wait to concede goals before you react.”

“You have to take something positive but I don’t see too many positives today because the team was simply reacting in the second half.”

“We can’t start games in this way and give the other team confidence and control if you want to get points away.” “My feeling is the performances of the team away from home have not been good enough.”

“And we have to change something.”

The fact that a manager of the caliber of Rafa Benitez is struggling to get the best out of our players, doesn’t reflect very well at all on our players.

Maybe Rafa could send a message to the squad by dropping both Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko, who have not been producing for the team much at all lately?

Our players must show more heart and less fear from now on, otherwise we will not win another game this season.

The four home games are now massive and that’s what Rafa sees as the path to possible safety – and the priority.

So hopefully we can get four sold-out crowds to these games, but our players have to show passion, drive and 100% effort in all our remaining games.

Nothing else is good enough.

Comments welcome.

136 comments so far

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #1

    slow down
    vardy scores 2, leicester defeat sunderland and are now sitting 10 points ahead of spurs!

    Newcastle united fans and ownership should be ashamed.

    We played a very simular style of play ourselves that season pardew got 5th place but we call it sh1t. The trouble is our team was built around passion and leadership, it’s players were not the sort of quality like that of a top 6 team and it was proven when the players had the transfer away from us. That summer we decide to bring just 1 player in, during the winter ba gets sold without replacement just a selection of panic buys then comes a full season without a single transfer. Not only does our team fail to get built up we decide to remove the entire passion and leadership meaning we can’t even win games through decent team work nstead we watch a team of 11 statues standing around in a very unorganised structure.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #2


    Yeah we had Simpson and the club decided to get rid would have been perfect back up and competition for places same with Perch and Guthrie

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #3

    Rafa if you ever going to get us the wins needed for survival then you should leave sissoko, jam and wini out the team because them guys don’t give a dam all they care about is a switch.

    start using lascelles and dummett in the back and put obatan and dejong in the midfield hilst we waiting for arrons and colback to recover because those two will still want to put a shift in knowing how little interest they’ll have at the minute. But do not use jam, sissoko or wini what so ever because them 3 just want to leave.

  • davetoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #4

    Maybe we need to hire a psychologist for every single squad player. Never seen a more fragile group

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #5

    It shows you the limited knowledge fans have on here. Simpson was limited going forward but it a fine defender. Quick to tackle, quick over the ground, competitive. Miles better than janmaat 🙁

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #6

    Any player who has been even slightly expressing a desire to leave needs to be dropped. Seems to me that in their rush to desert a sinking ship certain players are not trying. Gini, Sissoko, Janmaat to name but three. If they see relegation as the way out, they’re hardly going to try to keep us up – and it shows. We can escape this – by winning our home games and beating Villa away – but that is highly unlikely with players who don’t care if we survive or not. Hopefully Mbabu will be back to replace Janmaat next week and Rafa needs to decide who he can trust in these last few games.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #7

    Toon king. Spooky. 😉

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #8

    As i said martin hardy was great on Sunday supplement. Nailed carr and charnley. he called the players a “sensitive” bunch. Didnt respond to carvers shouting, laughed at smc, wont take rafa coaching.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #9

    Let’s not try and change history. Simpson was a very average player when he was here.

  • Mister Tuff

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #10

    Definitely some folk with limited knowledge on here. Sunderland beating Leicester today for example.

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #11


    hands down I’ve got to apologise and take back the amount of critism I give to some of those players.
    Perch- I didn’t go too far with him but had fealt glad when he left.
    simmo- I was glad to see him go at the time but should have known a great debuchy would leave in seconds knowing cabaye (his main reason for arrival) was unlikely to remain. Now i’ve left having to put up with a RB who’s defence and attack is bad
    willo- He might have had the image of a lower league player but one thing this guy did have was an exxcellent commitment no matter how much critism he might get he’d still put his full strength into defence and was never likely to get injured
    jonas- During his time I sometimes considered him just another obatan. some who runs up and down the pitch but on his very last game I hit back on myself big time and was now extremely upset to see him leave

    Nolan and barton- these two were an excellent with on the field management, players were giving orders to each and every player and would give commands to everyone

    There are a selection of others too but it’s these who I’d say were the best.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    Comment #12

    Tuff, yip i got that one wrong alright, thankfully. 🙂 they look better than us though, miles better.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #13

    Bobby i agree re those 3. Simpson was a decent defender though, just poor going forward. Amyway, not much point looking back.

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #14

    bobby bee

    Thats not the point. The point is these players were the ones who’d do all they could to help the team all we have now is players who main interest is attempting to move up to that bigger club.

    Leiecester city have got a team who’s players would be worse than ourselves when looked at on paper but these guys give all they can help leicester city survive and now challenge for the title. ALl you see with ours is consistant injuries and waiting for a big move

  • AndyMac

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #15

    “Let’s not try and change history. Simpson was a very average player when he was here”

    I think you’re worng on two points BB. Simmo was always able to give 100% often chasing back for some impressive goal line clearances. However the main point is he’s not average now is he ?

  • davetoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #16

    As i remember it he was offered a new contract and declined it as the club wouldn’t increase his 20k a week wages and also he knew that debuchy was guaranteed a start

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #17

    Leicester were there for the taking today – let’s be honest, they were awful – but the mackems weren’t up to the job. At least we’ll still have the derby next season.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:29 PM

    Comment #18

    How many times did you tell your lass you’ve been banging the Carr drum for years after Martin Hardy said that. Blame Carr and Charnley all you want, Ashley employed them!

  • davetoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #19

    @bobby not sure where you get Leicester played awful from. They played the same for last 5 games and won them all. Macems had one chance only for the game and Leicester had plenty

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #20

    Check the Toastie was always on at Simpson and Willo, it wasn’t their fault that they weren’t upgraded on us reaching the PL. Both great back up players and Simpson was more than happy to stay as a squad player but they wouldn’t give him the money he wanted. Give Thauvin 40K a week though.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #21

    Yeah, well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but as I recall we – myself included – were happy to see him leave. He gave away his fair share of goals. It’s pointless looking back and wishing, you make judgement on form and his was poor, no matter how much you’d like to change it. I was at those games and nobody will convince me he was anything other than bang average. He wouldn’t take a 100% increase in wages – from 12.5g to 25g and didn’t want to play second fiddle either. He left, that simple, but to suddenly say he was good is a gross misinterpretation of the facts. He wasn’t.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #22

    Jesus, if that performance was from the best the league has to offer, then the PL is a joke. Liecester were playing a team virtually relegated and it was like a Championship game. Both teams were poor on the day. Can you seriously imagine Barca and Munich etc watched that and were fear stricken at the thought of playing Liecester? I don’t think so.

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #23


    Sunderland might have been all over them in the first half but what the couldn’t do is get that goal because of how well organised the leicester city team was and how much team work the players gave each other. If they had a team with the likes of messi, ronaldo or bale then yes this game would be a very poor standard but they don’t.

    If you look back at ferguson’s era at manure you will notice he was reknowned for getting last minute winners, What he did was keep the defence well orgaised drain the clock down and then start getting on the attack during the last few minutes knowing the opposition will be more tired out.

  • Slank

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #24

    Leicester are not the most skilful team in the Premiership. In fact they are probably one of the least skilful teams.

    But what they have is confidence, determination and commitment. They play to their strengths. They are not fancy and don’t play pretty tiptoe passes to each other or indulge in endless and pointless sideways passing.

    They are very direct and use the long ball forward probably more than any other Premiership club which is interesting as this type of play was abandoned by McClaren and doesn’t seem to feature in Benetez plans.

  • davetoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:50 PM

    Comment #25

    Barca were lucky to beat a 10 man Atleti side playing similar football a few days ago so I think it is possible for Leicester to be competitive next season if they dont get too many injuries and are just as organised

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #26

    Maybe that’s because Sunderland are garbage? A decent team would’ve beaten Leicester today. The very fact that they’re top of the table shows what a freak season it’s been, not how good Liecester are. Good luck to them, I’m not knocking what they’ve achieved, but a good team today? Hardly.

  • beermonkey

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #27

    pards came in and we finished around 10th (not sure where) then we finished 5th
    ok football not the best but we got on a roll and ground out results
    question could a manager like Ranieri got us higher really we should have been top 4

    and is it just me i know leicester are going to win the league but i dont recall us getting such glowing reviews from pundits and those in know as leicester are now

  • davetoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #28

    Leicester are just doing same thing Chelsea did at end of last season. Its smart football

  • toon kk

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #29

    Leicester are winning games for three main reasons, a solid defence, pace and Vardy.
    I think they’ll be a one season wonder tbh unless they recruit well in the summer.

    But there’s one thing you can’t take away from them and that’s there work rate. Something our players just wouldn’t be prepared to do.

  • lesh

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #30


    You’re right in that if any senior player’s not giving 110%, then Rafa should drop him.

    We need commitment to the Club and it’s clear that some aren’t giving it. Some of the younger, more cavalier players might just be what Rafa needs to bring into the first-team fold.

    As far a Townsend and his reported £8m release clause, if that is true and we did pay £12m for him, then that should be yet another nail in Charnley’s coffin.

    However, as he’s been Ashley’s front, then it’s unlikely he’ll get the boot.

    When will Ashley realise how badly he’s damaged Newcastle United and acknowledge that having his hands on the controls (even though he’s said the so-called Board were running the show) just hasn’t and won’t work.

    From the fans’ point of view, Ashley’s be better appointing a competent football-experienced MD to run the Club for him but will he? Will he hell.

    That being the case, the sooner he sells up the better. I’m sure there’d be thousands on the streets to wish him all the success he deserves!

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #31

    Beer, you’re right mate, we didn’t. Even some of our own fans weren’t happy, when they now praise Liecester for a ‘direct approach’. (Long ball to you and me).

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #32

    The challenge for leicester city next season is that clubs now know they are most difficult when the opponsition take an offensive line. Teams had been very soft on them to begin with and leicester city used this to there advantage. Team are now in a more defensive manner so this has made it easier to keep clear sheets but it has made it harder for the likes of vardy to get the space for a goal.

    I don’ expect them to be a title challenger next season but if they manage to use the cash wisely they could get the chance to challenge a top 6 position.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #33

    Lesh, I think Ashley will sack the lot this summer. They’ve let everybody down, including Ashley. He gave them the money and freedom to take us forward and they’ve failed miserably. We can only hope he now finally realises that he needs football experts to take us forward. Carr and Charnley have messed up. The only defence Carr has is that Charnley failed to bring in his top choices, but his second choices were hardly inspired. The connection between Carr and certain agents is something that needs examining as well. Time for a clear out, top to bottom.

  • martoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #34

    toon kk from an earlier thread – I never thought we were Real Madrid. I thought and actually still do that our squad should be good enough for mid-table obscurity. However for whatever reason no manager seems to be able to get them to perform to their full potential.

  • martoon

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    Comment #35

    Ron Knee if you’re still about I forgot to mention you predicted 14th with 44 points – so closer than a lot of people.

  • hibbitt

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    Comment #36


    i hope to god your right because that’s where it needs to start at the top the lot of them need to go charnley carr moncur and beardsley should be out the door now

  • hibbitt

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #37


    if you have a minute mate what was mine ??

  • Lindisfarne

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #38

    Who are the attackers with pace at NUFC?

    Who are the midfielders with the best passing records at NUFC?
    Is not easily decided on stats as there are different categories, which are also effected by the number of opportunities and personally I would like to include de Jong.

    Who are the best defenders at NUFC?
    Slightly simpler but again different stats involved, I would like to include Lascelles and Mbabu who have good Clearances and Tackling respectively.

    Which formations have performed best for NUFC?
    4231 Goals For 28% – Against 72%
    442 Goals For 45% – Against 55%
    4411 Goals For 57% – Against 43%
    4141 Goals For 33% – Against 67%
    The formation most often played has also produced the biggest number of goals against but this can be explained by there being a greater probability, or opportunity for this to take place. There are no stats for 433 which is the direction I was hoping to be heading, but it would appear a counter attacking, solidly defensive formation is the most suitable for NUFC.

    I would like to see more than one pacey forward being used to gain the most advantage and exploit movement to create uncertainty and vulnerability in the oppositions defence. However ‘good’ Mitrovic is deemed to be at providing an outlet, challenging defenders and when given the chance, shooting. He lacks the overall requirements of a PL striker, although probably a good substitute and needs to find his niche (like Carroll).

    Good midfielders, not superstar personalities, capable of seeing space, predicting passes and offering both support to forwards and defenders as necessary. All season long we have struggled with having Defensive Midfielders available and how many to provide adequate cover. Anita and Colback have the best ratings for tackles and interceptions, but in my view all midfielders should be just as capable at creating a solid defensive unit as creating shooting chances and both are equally important.

    Whilst Janmaat does a lot of good work going forward, his defensive qualities are being shown to be lacking and a solid back four is required, which also resolves the problem of attempting to adapt a non-defensive player to left back. IMO the current situation requires either a back four of Central Defenders, or three with Wing Backs, perhaps in away games.

    Whilst I enjoy selecting a team of players the exercise is futile at the moment due to injuries and the progress of individuals in training. I just hope Rafa Benitez can adapt more so to what he has now seen from his own observations in the dug out and on the training pitches. Truly the slate needs to be wiped clean of must starters, reputation needs to be proven repeatedly and the players who can act most as a team must be selected in order to convey a spirit of joint enterprise with resolve and purpose.

  • toonking

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #39


    The majority of that critism is down to 1 thing Pardew himself.

    That team could have played exactly like it did do and had the exact same finish. If it were a manager like rafa then everyone would have described that season as an astonishing one. Pardew himself was given great credit at that moment in time. People only deem it bad was because pardew himself remained as manager for 3 more seasons and the team itself would turn awful. If he were sacked in that europa league season then people would have remained positive over his 5th place and just considered he following season a case of bad investment + inuries. He himself didn’t make things any easier by deciding to remain as manager and giving nonsense during interviews.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:24 PM

    Comment #40

    Hibbitt, if you recall at the end of the season Ashley took a back seat and said ‘there’s the money, give me value for it.’ By no stretch of the imagination can any of them claim to have done so. He might know jack about football, but he knows failure when he sees it. There’ll be a full inquiry in the close season and in anybody’s opinion this season has been a disaster. Even if by some miracle we won our home games and somehow stayed up – an unlikely scenario – nobody except Rafa would come out with any credit. Their jobs are untenable now.


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