This is a huge challenge for Rafa Benitez to try to save Newcastle from the drop and things certainly haven’t been ideal for him since he arrived – with so little time to get the players accustomed to some of his ideas.
Rafa and his coaching staff are purposely limiting what they want the players to do, so they are not overwhelmed.
But Coloccini has not been available and Massadio Haidara is out for the season and Daryl Janmaat has missed the last one and a half games and will miss tonight’s game against Manchester City.
Rafa Benitez – conditions have not been ideal
So the defense is our weakness and Rafa has had too many defenders missing.
We had 10 games to go when Rafa arrived and we picked up 4 points from the first five games – but the hope is that the lads are now more used to Rafa’s way of playing and should do (a lot) better in the final five games of the season.
Rafa was asked if time had been his biggest problem at Newcastle:
“I was talking before with another person about that.” “When I came and you asked me in a press conference if I was expecting to win against Sunderland or Norwich.”
“Yes, I thought that we could win one of these games.” “We didn’t have too much time, and also we had some players injured and they are not coming back”
“We have lost two players with knee problems.” “It’s not ideal, and time is short, but we are adapting quickly.” “We will try to implement our ideas as soon as possible.”
“Today we have been training and tomorrow we will do something.” “Normally, they were doing nothing, but we have to use the time that we have at the moment.”
Tonight’s game against Manchester City at home is a massive game and a win would probably see us on our way to possible survival.
We are hoping for a sell-out crowd and the fans can urge the players on to playing at or near their best – and we could even win the game.
Howay The Lads!!