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

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Benitez – This is Affecting Some Of Our Players

9:22 am, Sunday, August 7th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 17 Comments

There are high expectation of the new Newcastle United team under Rafa Benitez and every team in the Championship will do their best to beat us this season.

Fulham did exactly that on Friday night and we cannot have that as a regular occurrence otherwise we will get nowhere near to being promoted and that would be another compete and utter tragedy for the club.

The good news is we have one of the best managers in the game in Rafa Benitez, who is used to managing teams at the top – and they have to be at their best in every game.

rafa benitez fulham 98

Rafa Benitez during the game on Friday night

After the 1-0 defeat at Fulham Rafa seemed to know just exactly what the team and some of the players did not do well.

It’s better than having a manager who stands with his head in the hands on the touchline or in the (proverbial)  dugout when we were losing games last season.

Make no mistake Rafa is a driven man who is completely committed to making Newcastle into s top team again,  starting this season in England’s second division.

This is what Rafa said after the game on Friday night:

“I am really disappointed, we did not play at the level we expect. We were not keeping the ball well.”

“We have to improve, this game can be a wake-up call for all of us.”

“When were losing we had some anxiety when were losing 1-0, we must manage that.”  “We knew it would be difficult but we have to realise it on the pitch.”

“We weren’t winning second balls in the middle. We didn’t keep the ball and there were other concerns.”

“The first penalty appeal was clear but I won’t make any excuses.”

Good teams don’t get anxious when they go behind and now Rafa has the job of shaping the mentality of the players – and probably most of all the eight new players who have come into the club this summer.

Rafa did a good job when he came in last season and by the end of the 10 game period the former Liverpool manager had Newcastle playing like a top six side in the Premier League.

On Friday night, Matt Smith headed home the winner just before half-time and he was completely unmarked.

But captain Jamaal Lascelles has fessed up that he was the one at fault – he was a few yards away from Smith when the Fulham striker headed home from a corner.

This is what the captain said after the game:

 “It’s a mistake and I take full responsibility for it. The boys have given me a bit of stick for it.

“OK we lost but we can take some positives for it.”

That’s one of the reasons Jamaal is the captain, he openly admits to the few mistakes he makes, but Rafa also said he was quite pleased with the defense on Friday night.

They made the one mistake from the corner – but it cost us dearly – it’s an area we must improve on.

It was the worst possible result in our first game, but we should see improvement coming quickly as the games come thick and fast.

We have huge confidence in Rafa Benitez to sort things out as the season progresses.

What Should Rafa Do With Moussa Sissoko?

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Tags: Championship · Coaching · Jamaal Lascelles · Management · Newcastle News

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Average_Contents // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    A captain admitting to mistakes eh.

    Unheard of since Nolan.

  • 2 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    @Ron Knee

    It sort of reminds me of last season when we played Bournemouth and Watford they totally dominated us in both games with pace and power we need to start being able to do this Diame will add an element of this!

  • 3 Visten // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Well if you put the best team out it would be a start Rafa me old mate. Anita in an advanced midfield role? 2 holding midfielders? This is the Championship not the Champions League.

  • 4 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    two threads ago

    In my humblest opinion we have not got/did have on Friday the players to play counter attacking get the ball up to to the forwards/forward quick and with any accuracy – thats why in the end we lump it long and hope for the best.
    You cannot play counter attacking football with Colback and Anita as the holding midfielders. if that was RAFA’s idea on Friday then why not start with Shelvey in midfield and Aarons for Perez.

    RAFA and the players if you didn’t realise before-hand that every team in the Championship wants to beat us and will up their game – then you will/should know now!!!!!!!

  • 5 ZIPPIE57 // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    We desperately need a striker and Aaron’s not getting past full backs any mmore

  • 6 DubaiMicky // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Is Rafa the real Messiah? Sorry I’m not convinced, I do hope so but…..

  • 7 Ron Knee // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:46 AM


    It’s a pity Diamé wasn’t available on Friday. He would have made a big difference, I’m sure.

  • 8 martoon // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    I trust Rafa but I have to say if you put out a team with Colback, Hayden & Anita in you are not going to have much attacking flair. I don’t like zonal marking but if that’s what Rafa prefers then at least put players on the post for corners – that would have probably stopped Smith’s header.

  • 9 Ron Knee // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:50 AM


    Perhaps Rafa isn’t convinced of Shelvey’s reliability?

  • 10 Whumpie // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    I’m a bit surprised at the reaction to this. Already criticism of the manager, selections, players.
    I don’t get why the expectation was for an easy win. Based on what?
    We have 8 new players and the core of our attack either just arrived, leaving or gone.
    Why the surprise that we were uneasy and disjointed?
    Relax – it was never going to be easy. This was game 1 of 45.

  • 11 G // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    1 if 46 actually Whump, but agreed mate. We have lost away in Putney the last 6 visits, we rarely do well in the capital. I have no idea why some are surprised. I will not be pressing the panic button unless we havent picked up a win by game 5.

  • 12 martoon // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Whumpie – as I said I’ve still got faith in Rafa but this is a football blog to discuss teams, tactics etc. and that’s what we are doing!

  • 13 Oleg G // Aug 7, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    I have my own poll on Sissoko, with much more interesting answers 🙂

    Check it out and vote please!

  • 14 Fostino // Aug 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Janmaat lascalles mbemba jesus
    Anita Diame
    Ritchie shelvey perez

    Dummett..colback..hayden dropped. Arrons didn’t do enough to start so shelvey comes in who deserves more game time

    If this team loses then we are truly fu*ked

  • 15 ArtyH // Aug 7, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    For the first pen call one of the toon players preferably Laselles should have picked the ball up and placed it on the pen spot. Its hard to deny it then, a bit like parent and child going into a pet store and one of the sales person’s giving the child a kitten to hold, sold, you’ve got to buy it, haven’t you! Worth a try next time!

  • 16 jimmysmith // Aug 7, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Janmaat Lascelles Mbemba Gamez
    Tiote Diame
    Sissoko DeJong Ritchie

    This is our best 11 in my opinion. Very risky business selling so many players, and all your best, even if the money is reinvested.

  • 17 peterk3 // Aug 7, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    Perez is not a hold up player, he was lost Friday, as was Gayle.We need a bully up front. Mitrovich or how about a punt on Peter Crouch. Both these can bully defenders an hold the ball up

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