Rafa Benitez was as surprised as the rest of us, the way Newcastle played on Friday night at Fulham when we managed to lose our first game 1-0 in what is an absolutely crucial season for the Newcastle United Football club.
We just have to get promoted back to the Premier League, come hell or high water, next May.
Benitez has gone on about how we must fully respect the opposition and that it will not be easy in what is a tough and tiring 46 game season where we play two games a week a lot of the time.
A disappointed Rafa Benitez after the game on Friday night
But some pundits and players of other Championship clubs were saying after the game – we just turned up at Craven Cottage and expected to win.
They say we cannot just turn up in this league and expect to win games without a big fight – and of course they are right.
After the game on Friday night, Rafa gave a number of interviews and these are the main points he made – and most of his comments were for the players’ consumption:
“We have to keep working, we need something a little bit more and especially in terms of working we have to realise we will be working more – we have to.”
“Some of the players knew what it would be like, they have played at this level. We need to manage the situation better.”
“When you are bringing players in, and players are leaving, it is always difficult but we have to manage the situation better.”
‘The first penalty appeal was clear, we have talked about that – it was clear. But it was not given and we had to carry on. I will not make an excuse.”
“You could see when we were losing 1-0 we had anxiety, we had to manage the ball much better and play with the ideas we wanted to do.”
“We didn’t concentrate like we have to, especially when you are losing you need to be calm and do things much better.”
“The only positive is that it is the beginning of the season and we have to make sure we are ready for the next game. We need to improve a lot of things.”
“Everybody has realised it can`t be like this for the rest of the season.”
We cannot be over-confident for any game and we cannot take any opposition lightly.
In fact the way to promotion is to beat the bottom half of the table teams both home and away – that will help the promotion drive enormously.
And we just have to be able to win games away from home – it was another defeat on the road on Friday night and we have to start winning games away from St. James’ Park.
Hopefully, there will now be a reset after Friday night and though it’s difficult to see it now – it could even be a good thing that we lost that first game.
The bubble of invincibility that had built up was well and truly burst open.
Howay The Lads!!