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Lokeren Manager Full Of Praise For Newcastle’s Quality

9:44 am, Sunday, July 24th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 38 Comments

67 year-old former Belgian International Georges Leekens is the manager of Lokeren and he admitted after the game yesterday that Newcastle were much the better team and that Rafa Benitez’ side had more class and better technique than Lokeren.

Georges has twice been the Belgium national manager in 1997-1999 and then again in 2010-2012 and he has managed around 20 clubs  in a long management career that started way back in 1984 – so he has lots of experience.

rafa in press confernce after loverken game

Georges Leekens is on the left at the press conference yesterday

Newcastle played well yesterday and scored some very nice goals and we were 3-0 up at the break and 4-0 up after just 3 minutes into the second half.

That’s how it ended up with a brace from the impressive Ayoze Perez and a goal each from Daryl Janmaat and Jonjo Shelvey.

Leekens was full of praise for Newcastle’s performance after the game:

“I am not disappointed, they were much better.” “They had more class and technique.” “We tried our best but we gave away too many chances and every chance seemed to be coming towards our goal.”

“We tried some things out in defense but we could see to improve little things and some players were missing.”

“The judgement will come one week before the season when players are back.” “We played against a team and club that will be back very fast into the Premier League.”

“I think when you look at the quality of their side and their coach I know I can put my money on Newcastle this season.”

“It wasn’t exactly a League One or League Two club, this was a proper Championship team that should go up.”

“They were better than us.” “There is no disappointment but I know we have some work to do.”

“We have to work between now and our first league game.”

Rafa’s comment on the performance was that he was pleased with the win, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Next up for Newcastle is Southend United on Tuesday night on the south coast.

ClubLocationDate and KickoffResult
BohemianDalymount ParkSaturday, 16th July
Won 6-0
Doncaster RoversKeepmoat StadiumWednesday, 20th July
Drew 2-2
KSC LokerenDaknamstadionSaturday, 23rd July
Won 4-0
Southend UnitedRoots Hall
Tuesday, 26th July
Won 2-0
SBV Vitesse St. James ParkSaturday, 30th July
3:00 pm
Won 3-2

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Friendlies · Newcastle News · Pre-season

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tsunki // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    Jesper Spin!

  • 2 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    Is Georges the bloke in the red shirt? Whoever that is, I like him. He had a beer in front of him on the table at one point during the press conference. That’s a man after my own heart.

  • 3 Tsunki // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    Damn right
    It’s better than yours
    I could teach you
    But I’d have to charge

  • 4 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    If he stays I think he could well turn out to be a decent midfield player.
    He is very good going forward and carrying the ball.
    But as a full-back as he seems to go missing gets out of position, forgets to get back to cover winger and ends up fouling, shirt pulling and giving goals away.

  • 5 Tsunki // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Slank – you’re not big on context are you –

    Peter Beardsley has been praising 20 year-old Moroccan Yasin El-Mhanni as having unbelievable ability ever since he arrived at Newcastle

  • 6 WWSBRD // Jul 24, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    He was out of position so much last season because he was our play maker

  • 7 JP...from The Rock // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM


    This kid has major talent on the ball with his crazy skills. But ball tricks don’t win you football matches but it really helps it really helps to know some. If he can improve is all-round game like Ed says he could be our next HBA but with a better understanding of team-play. He should look at Mahrez’s season with Leicester for inspiration and take note of hi overall play and how he defends and attacks effectively.

    But I too am weary to Beardsley’s methods of coaching and I hope the kid impresses enough so he is quickly under Rafa’s guidance.

  • 8 NezzaNUFC // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    12 goals and conceded 2 in 3 games with similar teams as to the last 3 seasons?

    I don’t think Pardew and McClaren manage to get past 8 goals in all the pre-season games lol

  • 9 widowmagandapoke // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Could all you gossiping old women stop talking amongst yourselves and talk about football. I have a wife at home to nag me.

  • 10 Belfast // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Jesper in!

  • 11 Munster Mag // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:24 AM

    Jp i agree. Tsunki i agree re too much running pointlessly. But as for closing down and tracking and hard work, sorry its needed. Mahrez did more of that in one season than hba wud do in 4. Barca don’t rely on their defenders to defend!

  • 12 Munster Mag // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    So what positions are left to strengthen? I have a feeling we will get a good striker in ….big bloke….not sure if Rafa rates Mitro. Maybe he wont seem so slow with speed merchants like Gayle playing off him. I would hope we get at least one more creative player in . If he does rate Mitro enough, then I can see a back up like that Darryl Murphy at Ipswich. This would make sense to me, but only assuming Rafa believes Mitro is on the team sheet most of the time. I think Saivet will do better than people think, and reckon the Hayden may be a star in the making .

  • 13 SuperShearer // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    @Munster Mag – think Rafa does rate Mitro, seem to remember him saying something towards the end of last season about him but he needs to be more disciplined.
    On Hayden my boss is a MASSIVE Gooner and reckons we’ve got ourselves a real star. He was disappointed to see him go but appreciates that many of their young stars will leave if not blooded early.

  • 14 JP...from The Rock // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Munster Mag- I think we still need cover all over the pitch, especially at LB. I really hope we ge another striker a quality young up and coming Spanish star maybe? I would like him to be tall, quick and mobile. I am not a huge fan of slow big strikers like Mitro. We need more pace in our team and if we have another striker in the mold of Gayle I will be happier than if it were in the Mitro mold. We need to find a Bellamy I think, quick, tenacious and hone his skills to make him lethal in front of goal. I like the looks of the Ross McCormack fella. And at 30 he could still be of use if/when we get back up to the Premier League.

    I would sign him up as he guarantees goals at this level and then look for that young striker that is a mix of Gayle, Bellamy and Ayoze 🙂

  • 15 WWSBRD // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    LB and and either side winger

  • 16 Rotonda heights // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    wouldn’t be sad to see mitro go. always a ticking time bomb and no speed whatsoever. I too prefer mobile quick strikers who can get in behind and not rely on hopeful aerial stuff all the time. Armstrong ticks the boxes but is yet to convince. not sure who is out therethough, maybe perez and gayle

  • 17 Munster Mag // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    JP I think gayle is our bellamy? If mitro gets injured, we will lack height up front , hence my thoughts on Darryl murphy. works hard too and scores goals and wud be cheap.

  • 18 clinath@ed // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    I think the term “track back” is what gets the fans annoyed. Asking the front three to run back to your own third of the field every time you lose the ball (exaggerate) is asking too much.
    But having them harass and close down your opponents backs when they have the ball is fundamental.

  • 19 Spoof // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    I doubt that we will sign a striker seeing that we already have Gayle, Mitro, Armstrong, Riviere and Perez, yes we may get rid of Riviere but that still leaves us with 4 and due to Rafa playing a 4-2-3-1 formation I believe that 4 will be enough, if not and we do get another striker in I very much doubt that it will be a big target man as we already have Mitro and Rafa has always preferred the quicker more mobile striker to the target man, yes he will need options and players who can bring a different type of game if we need to change things in a match but he has Mitro for that.

  • 20 Bambams // Jul 24, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    Rafa is a very good tactician and reads the opposition well.

    I can see him rotating not just our forwards but the whole team.

    I would not be surprised to see Mitro mostly on the bench, I think Perez will play up front in the supporting role with Gayle.

    I also think there is another couple of signings to come in….The calibre will differ depending on the sale of Sissoko.

    I know we are not skint but Ash will be happier spending the profits from Sissoko.

    Still need a bloody LB…..


  • 21 JP...from The Rock // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    If we could get a good tall striker which is also quick then it will be ideal. We wouldn’t lack height in the final third and we would still have pace. Quick strikers don’t have to be small but they usually are. If we could find one that is quick and ship out the useless Riviere then we’re sorted in that area.

  • 22 Yo-yo // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    Agreed – tracking back is a misnomer. In Ice Hockey you have forechecking and backchecking – pretty self explanatory but here goes witv a google
    “Forechecking. refers to skating done in the offensive zone, often to recover possession of the puck after a dump in or turnover. Backchecking. Rushing back to the defensive zone in response to an opposing team’s attack”

    The fottie equivalent of forechecking is by far the most important job for the front three or four when they lose possession. Closng players down quick…

  • 23 Yo-yo // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    a dump is like a speculative long ball cross … nd not what you might think … 🙂

  • 24 Spoof // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:14 AM


    What your looking for is another Les Ferdinand, sadly there aren’t to many of them about, the closest could be Christian Benteke but I very much doubt that he would entertain the Championship, mind it would be great if he would !

  • 25 JP...from The Rock // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Spoof- yehh Sir Les was amazing. If we could get anyone with half his skill we will be flying. Benteke’s a good shout, doubt he’ll come though. As for wingers what do you think of Moses? He might come and is experienced and quick.

  • 26 Spoof // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:17 AM


    and the best striker I have ever seen for closing down is Peter Beardsley, I just hope that he can preach what he practised.

  • 27 Jib // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    The president of Galatasaray said on Turkish tv that they were keen on Lucas Leiva but also interestingly said they were in competition with NUFC for his signature.

  • 28 Spoof // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:25 AM


    strange that you mention Moses as for the last couple of days I have mentioned that the two who I would like to come are Ings and Moses, many say that Moses hasn’t fullfilled his potential which I do agree with but has he ever been at a club and be able to say that this is where his long term future lies, I don’t think he has and I would love us to sign him so he can finally get himself a home and then settle so he can then show what a good player he could be, players with pace are difficult to handle, strong powerful players are also difficult to handle and any player who has both of those attributes could be a real nightmare to handle, Moses does have both of those qualities, I really would love to see him join.

  • 29 Jail for Ashley // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    I’d like to see a specialist LB come in, Danny Ing’s or Jordan Rhodes and an attacking MF to replace Wijnaldum. We should have upwards of 50M to spend so this should be achievable.

  • 30 JP...from The Rock // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    Spoof – yup he is strong and quick and that’s more of what we need in this team. I would really like Ings too now that you mention it. Doubt that Liverpool would let him go though.

  • 31 Jail for Ashley // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    Victor Moses, Danny Ings and a good solid LB and we’d absolutely tear that division up.

  • 32 Jail for Ashley // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Moses is probably on 80K a week at Chelsea and will want to prove himself to the new manager

  • 33 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    clinath@ed@18. You make a good point. One thing to have your forwards putting pressure on opposition defenders, another altogether to expect them to continually chase back up the pitch. Some can do it, some can’t. You can’t expect every player with top level skill and flair to have unlimited stamina as well.

  • 34 Yo-yo // Jul 24, 2016 at 11:53 AM


    yes he was a real grafter

  • 35 Offkey // Jul 24, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    On Mitro – I rated him seeing him on arrival and stayed with him over the season and thought he would come good. Even just after relegation I thought he may be well suited to the championship, but after these initial pre-season games Im losing a bit of confidence in him. Hope he can does well next season but it will be a slow start for him with Gayle seemingly first choice at least for the first few games.

  • 36 Offkey // Jul 24, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    On Rafa – Everybody is saying the type of players he likes but he seems very varied. Strikers from Torres to Crouch, or full backs like Glen Johnson who are much better going forward. yeah, he may have certain preferences but I think he will want a rounded squad that can do a bit of everything do theres always a plan b

  • 37 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 24, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Dutch left-back Jetro Willems looking to join Liverpool after he sent a good luck message to new signing Wijnaldum

  • 38 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 24, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    Be interesting this afternoon to see how the ‘young guns’ get on against PSV Eindhoven in what will be the tournament decider. Dutch side beat Leeds United 4-1 in their opening game.

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