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

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Howay The Lads!!

Benitez Gives Balanced, Upbeat Comments After Game

7:18 pm, Saturday, July 30th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 24 Comments

Rafa Benitez was balanced and upbeat with his comments after the game today and he said he saw a lot of good things, especially in the first half, but some good things in the second half too.

Benitez said he didn’t want to say negative things about what happened in the second half – but it was a pre-season game  – and he hopes the mistakes will not happen when the real season starts.

program cover vitesse

Rafa Benitez on the front of the program today

Well, that’s on Friday at Fulham and fans will take what they want from this game – there were plenty of good things in the second half too – but two poor goals conceded from set pieces.

This is what a down to earth and relaxed Newcastle manager said after the game today:

“I was really pleased with the first half and pleased with some of the chances that we created.” “I was a little disappointed with the two goals we conceded but in pre-season you have to adjust things.”

“You have to change players, systems and teams around and the mistakes we did make, I hope we won’t concede when the real season starts.”

“I was really pleased with the goals we scored and the way we played.”

“I think the team was doing well and Gayle and Ritchie have quality too.”  “We have seen a lot of good things – even in the second half.”

“I don’t want to say negative things about the second half.”

“I just think  that they were 3-0 down and they would keep pushing and pushing. That’s the reason why it was harder.”

“We still had other good chances and I think both teams did well. There were mistakes but we can change them in time.”

Rafa seems pleased with the game today and of course as the season progresses – as Rafa  did when he came in for those last 10 games in charge – the actual league games will assist him in getting the lads to play well together.

But we’d love to start the season with a win at Fulham on Friday night – in 2009 we drew 1-1 at West Brom in our first game and had to come from 1-0 behind at half time.

For those Newcastle fans in the US, beIN Sports will televise at least one game in the Championship every weekend and Fulham vs Newcastle is live on Friday night.

Here’s how pre-season ended up.

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

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

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

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:26 PM

    As good as rafa is as a manager he needs to realise zonal marking is costing goals. I’ve never understood the point of zonal marking from set pieces. A major flaw which will no doubt result in more goals being conceded.

  • 2 check the toastie // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    Something negative for a balanced view…

    Our transfer business has been shoite, we need to give Rafa the tools to make certain we return to the top flight.

    Need signings quickly or Rafa will feel well and truly done over and we will have another Keegan situation.

    Investment has been slow moving. need to get it sorted Fat Man. This could quickly turn sour.

  • 3 Yo-yo // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:38 PM


    Actually LR32 has got it pretty much spot on about free market capitalism. His point about the monopoly control of resources – i.e. access to football games – is exactly how conventional theory works.

    Criticism of other people’s views is fine, but not if it is based on ignorance.

  • 4 Yo-yo // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:40 PM

    our toon

    There is a story that the Fools also let in a lot of goals at first til they got used to the zonal system and he firmed up the roles in his defence.
    Just hearsay…

  • 5 Mag52 // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:48 PM


    You’ve got a point there.
    I’ll stick to 5th. but could be 20 or so goals out on the goals total.
    Not to worry, I’ve posted it so I’ll stick with it.

  • 6 Rotonda heights // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    our toon

    with the best will in the world rafa is a CL winner. pretty sure he knows better than us what to do.

  • 7 outside the box // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    impressed by ritchie feet ….first time crossing …gayle is fast and will score goals hayden looks class …hanley reminds me of bobby moncur…more a captain and battler ..sells an improvement ….and gamez will be asset ….jamie sterry looks composed and ready for squad…too soon for armstrong…..hope it was nowt serious with mbemba.??…

  • 8 Rotonda heights // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:56 PM


    we’ve got 6 decent signings in. when’s the last time we did that in a summer window. i’m sure as soon as pogba is finally done, momentum will gather, ie sissoko etc

  • 9 SA Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 7:57 PM

    The game is also live on Supersport in South Africa. Can’t wait to be honest.

  • 10 Back Door Man // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    Sutty got it right earlier … the contract and licensing agreements between the broadcasters and the leagues rule out individual clubs offering their games online AT ANY TIME. Somebody mentioned Liverpool TV and Manku TV showing live league action – they don’t, they only provide live voice commentary; they do, however provide ‘time delayed’ tv coverage much later.

    I see no contractual or licensing reasons why home friendly matches shouldn’t be streamed if the visiting team agree; maybe it’s just about bums on seats. I agree with others here that by not streaming these games the club is missing the opportunity to give something to the Toon diaspora … considering we have entered the ‘new age of enlightenment’.

  • 11 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    Quite funny that anyone who says something slightly negative about Rafa or a tactic gets shot down immediately.

    Rotonda – yes Rafa is a CL winner thank you for clarifying that, I’ll repeat zonal marking doesn’t work. If you let anyone to run and jump they win the resulting battle as the person standing still and jumping won’t have the leap. That’s a fact, not an opinion

    He was also the last manager to win a CL with zonal marking…..remind me when that was again!! In pre season alone we’ve conceded more from set pieces than open play, that should tell him what he’s trying to implement isn’t working!!

  • 12 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    Was Armstrong not a bit rusty today and trying to come back from injury? I noticed Charlie saying he doesn’t think he’ll make it. I’ve not seen enough of the lad to make judgement but from what I have seen I’ve not seen anything outstanding!! I hope he does make the grade

  • 13 lesh // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:13 PM


    You missed another one? Just as well you’re not living way out in the sticks where there’s maybe only one bus a week to the nearest town!

  • 14 Rotonda heights // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:33 PM

    our toon

    ”remind me when that was again” – real negative comment again there. It was 2005, but does it matter when it was. RB won the EUFA cup with chelsea much more recently.

    before today we had barely conceded in all our previous matches. I myself do prefer man to man marking, but to question a guy’s methods when he has enjoyed such phenomenal success suggests you think you know better. Reality check :-You don’t.

  • 15 toon22 // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    We do realise that pre seasons about trying things out and match sharpness.
    Im sure that Rafa knows exactly whats hes doing and am sure he will do his best to getit right,without him we were truly shafted so lets get behind him and the team and go with it.
    Oddly enough im looking forward to this season more then the last 5/6 even though we get religated.

  • 16 martoon // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:50 PM

    Evening guys – Some of you are a bit keen with the predictions. If you could just hold off until tomorrow when I will ‘officially launch it’ 🙂

  • 17 benjohnsen // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:55 PM

    @Our Toon.

    There different level of zonal marking. Most team use a mixed zonal marking on set pieces. The advantage with zonal marking is that it requires less speed and stamina from the players. When the system is drilled it is very easy to replace a player as they know the drill.

    Of course like you say there are drawbacks to zonal defense, but if there is one manager who knows how to get this to work it is Rafa. When at Liverpool, they conceded the least of almost all the teams in the premier league over six seasons.

    I know that in England. Man marking has been written in the bible. Personally, I’m for a mixed zonal marking. However, I am willing to give Rafa a chance. It’s not like man marking has been working great for us the last 4-5 seasons or make that 10.

  • 18 Ian Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Yo-yo- What a random disrespectful silly comment. .You know nothing of my qualifications and area of expertise.. I am not an academic but am working on specialising in a chosen field. Whilst gaining from work experience knowledge and practical experience. Challenge me on football related issues by all means.
    You’ve behaved in this manner before which suggests you’re not learning lessons- give it a rest.

  • 19 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 9:02 PM


    Reality check for me? The last time rafa was truly successful was at Liverpool, he did ok at Chelsea but failed at Inter, Napoli and Real Madrid. I’m all for Rafa and fully behind him but think he’s got it wrong with zonal marking. I’m allowed to express this opinion on zonal marking not working am I not?

    Rafa is a very good manager he knows more than me obviously but not more than those who have achieved more in recent years. Hopefully people start to be more balanced in views going forward because at present it’s all rafa tinted specs fans like you are looking through.

    Martoon – I’m going to stay away from predication this season, got it massively wrong last year but do fear the depth in the squad at present!!

  • 20 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Ben Johnson

    That’s the issue I have though is the only responses so far is “at liverpool” he left them in 2010.

  • 21 Jail for Ashley // Jul 30, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    Our Toon,
    Of course it’s rose tinted glasses we’d have completely imploded as a football club without him.

  • 22 Our Toon // Jul 30, 2016 at 9:30 PM


    He’s been here less than 6 months, nothing has been achieved yet, if it fails we go back to how it was, plenty of time implode yet!! Let’s hope Rafa finds the right tools with us as it’s not been so rosy in his last 3 managerial stints

  • 23 Bobbybee // Jul 30, 2016 at 9:37 PM

    Jail, phoned our lass before ko to donate my tenner – well, our Tenner. 😉 poor turnout imo and don’t know the attendance, but i do know i lost the bet by a mile. Where was everyone? Still on holiday i pressume. 😉

    First half was impressive, but too many changes always spoils things for both sides. That said, Colback caught my attention again. Kept winning the ball and laying it off as a good dm should.
    I’m Arma’s biggest fan, but he didn’t get into the game today. To be fair though, he’s not match sharp due to a two month lay off and hasn’t had the minutes to sharpen up. He’s making the runs ok, just not getting picked out in time. His strengths are the channels, but midfield need to spot his runs quicker and trust his pace to get him there. A million miles away from his best today, but unfair to judge him yet. Wait until he’s back to his sharpest, he’s well worth persevering with when he’s 100%.
    The second half – especially after all the subs were made – was very scappy overall and again, unfair to judge all those who came on. I thought today Rafa might have played the full game with only three subs, like a proper game. Our defence on corners is scary, despite having giants at the back. Still think Krul is our best option in goal as well.
    Still, you can’t knock a win against a top tier club from any country, so i’d give it 7/10 if only for the first half.
    Did your bairn enjoy the game? 😉 Hope so.

  • 24 southafricantoon // Jul 31, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    Can’t wait

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