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 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.