The conventional wisdom is you can never tell how the season will start from the results and the way the team plays in pre-season.
And last night at Fulham the Newcastle team didn’t really turn up for the game until the second half – and even then we played nowhere near our capability.
The result was that we suffered a shocking 1-0 loss to Fulham, who finished 5th bottom last season.
We had thought these types of displays and results from the last two years were a thing of the past – but apparently not – as we now have to wait a very long 8 days to make up for this very poor start to the season.
Matt Smith heads home unchallenged
Last time in the second division we lost only four games of the 46 played, so it could be we will not do as well as we had thought this time around in the Championship.
This is what Rafa Benitez told Sky Sports after the game:
“We have to realise it will be a tough competition – we have to be much better,”
“We didn’t play at the level we expected. We gave the ball away too easily and we conceded from a corner. After that we had some chances but we didn’t manage the game today.”
“From the bench the two incidents seemed like they were both penalties, especially the first one,”
“But it was not given, but you can be disappointed but carry on.”
“Maybe at the start of the season you’d expect more attention but we didn’t play at the level we have to play at, so we can’t complain about these things.”
There were some poor displays from the likes of new captain Jamaal Lascelles, who was at fault for the goal.
And how come we didn’t have a player on the far post to defend the corner from which Matt Smith headed home completely unchallenged after 45 minutes?
We did have two good appeals for a penalty turned down, but that’s what last night came down to – what didn’t happen and it was the referee.
And Fulham also had a couple of appeals for a penalty too – so it almost evened itself out.
Rafa will need to make some changes to the side when we take on Huddersfield Town at home next Saturday, with Paul Dummett offering nothing going forward while Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle were both disappointing and hardly showed up during the game.
It simply wasn’t good enough.