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We’re Now Gelling As A Team – We Believe In Rafa 100%

6:15 pm, Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 55 Comments

We have to remember that new captain Jamaal Lascelles is still only 22 and it’s a massive responsibility to be the captain of the club when we have just been relegated.

Jamaal has a so-so start to the season but he’s come on strong in the last few games and played very well and of course he’s a real leader, there’s no doubt about that.

Under Rafa’s guidance this lad can become a top-class center-back and he’s also keen to learn.

jamaal lascelles scores brighton 98

Jamaal Lascelles after scoring against Brighton

Jamaal has been interviewed and he has talked about how tough it’s going to be this season and that we cannot take anything for granted:

“It’s going to be a big ask.”  “Players can’t get complacent. “We can’t think we’re going to walk all over teams.”

We’ve got to go there and prepare for every game like it’s a cup final like we did in the last games of last season.”

“We’ve got great players, and with the attitude we’ve been showing recently, we can beat anyone on our day. “

“We’ve got a strong team, and inside our changing room now it’s really strong. “That’s massively important, not just the stuff on the pitch but inside the changing room.”

“People are really starting to gel and get on with each other.” “People don’t realise, but it’s so important.”

“You can have unbelievable players on the pitch, but if they’re not gelling, don’t know their jobs and aren’t working hard, it doesn’t matter at all.”

“It’s a really tough league,” “When you’re going to Leeds United on a Tuesday night and it’s cold and raining, you need big characters.”

“You need players to come out of their shells and start using their voices.”  “It Saturday-Tuesday games. You need to be fit as well. You’re not just playing Saturday and resting all week.”

“Rafa knows what he’s on about. Everyone trusts him 100%.”  “I think that’s the main thing. We’ve just got to crack on.”

We have done well after surprisingly losing those first two games to Fulham and Huddersfield Town who happen to be second and first in the league respectively at the moment.

But Rafa never flinched and we now have four wins on the trot and we want to extend that in our next two games – on the road at Derby County and QPR in a short four days.

Wins are what will get us promoted this season – wins and more wins.


Jamaal has played 27 games for Newcastle so far with three good goals.

Here’s our tough schedule before the next two week International break.

Sat 10	17:30	A   Derby County				
Tue 13	19:45	A   QPR				
Sat 17	15:00	H   Wolves
Tue 20  17:45   H   Wolves - EFL Cup 3rd round			
Sat 24	17:30	A   Aston Villa			
Wed 28	19:45	H   Norwich City				
Sat 01	15:00	A   Rotherham

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Coaching · Jamaal Lascelles · Newcastle News

55 responses so far ↓

  • 1 hibbit // Sep 6, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    Blackley and Brownlie

    will do


  • 2 Jail for Ashley // Sep 6, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    Give Rafa ten games some said. Pardew was allowed loads, Steve asked for more and more but some on here wanted Rafa judged on ten games! I hope they’re squirming. They know who they are!

  • 3 stephen1971 // Sep 6, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    ^^^^^ judge rafa on his management history , what he did with valencia was short of a miracle, i think hes a better manager than kk, kk concentrated on the first team too much whereas rafa is working to the core of the club, don,t get me wrong, i loved the keegan error but rafa for me is more experienced and more focused than kk

  • 4 Essex Geordie Bill // Sep 6, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    4 Away games and 2 home over next 6 league games, how has that been worked out?

  • 5 SUTTY1978 // Sep 6, 2016 at 6:51 PM

    Just seen Saivets comments. I would interpret it as “Clearly I’m a decent player, I came in here to play in defensive midfield but for some reason always found the useless turd Colback in the team ahead of me. The only reason I can put it down to is that he’s English and they prefer to play the English lads. There’s no f**kin way they really thought he was a better player than me. The tea lady would have got a game ahead of him but she’s Polish”

  • 6 Belfast // Sep 6, 2016 at 7:19 PM

    You’d probably say the same if you’d moved to a another country and it was a disaster and you where now back in your native land with your tail between your legs – Wasn’t my fault gov.

    Still don’t have a clue why he was signed in the first place, when we needed to strengthen other positions desperately.

  • 7 Rotonda heights // Sep 6, 2016 at 7:46 PM


  • 8 Jail for Ashley // Sep 6, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    It’s because there weren’t any central defenders available who they thought might turn a quick profit. Players weren’t ever bought on the needs of the team but whether they could be sold within three years at a profit.

  • 9 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Jail tbf to those who put Rafa on a short leash, it quickly became clear that he was a proper top notch manager, and not the almost quite adequate, middle of the road, average Joe (not good but just not bad it has to be stressed) that was desperately hoped for. 😉

  • 10 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    I’m sure there are a few Monsters under the bed waiting to pounce if the wheels start to wobble though 🙂

  • 11 Lindisfarne // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    Martin Pearsons Deby side were dreadful against Burton, if Albion had better quality in attack they would have really put County under the cosh. They will almost certainly better because they could hardly play any worse. Rafa needs to nullify there midfield and organise our attack to produce sharp, quick and incisive passes, leading to goalssss.

  • 12 Lindisfarne // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    Martin = Nigel

  • 13 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    Mind that is some timetable up there barely four days between games, and some pivotal games in there which may decide how the Season will go. Going to have to trust in Rafas tactical and rotation skills on this one all right.

    I’m speaking to myself, aren’t I?

  • 14 Jail for Ashley // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    While most of us dread that unexpected defeat at Doncaster on a Tuesday night after fifteen wins in a row, some people just can’t wait for it so they can practice their drums again.

  • 15 Jail for Ashley // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:57 PM

    I’ve only managed one game this season, I thought with games coming so thick and fast I’d get to see loads despite being away a bit, I’m hardly going to get to a game. Loads of int breaks 🙁

  • 16 beermonkey // Sep 6, 2016 at 8:58 PM


    yes u r

  • 17 Novocastrian66 // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    That Loftus Cheek is a class act. He scored for England U21’s tonight. Would love to have him at Newcastle. Never happen. Just found out that Carl Cort is his brother. Wonder if he could put a word in.

  • 18 Novocastrian66 // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Tsunki; the next month will go a long way to determining how our season will go. I’m not saying if we have a poor month we will not be promoted, however if we have a good month it will lay a fantastic foundation for promotion.

  • 19 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    If we flattened this run of games I think we could steamroller the rest of the Season on confidence alone. I just hope that all this good feeling in the camp doesn’t translate to overconfidence. There are a lot of teams lining up to take our head as a prize. Norwich and villa have their own targets and we are a major scalp in their season.

  • 20 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Beer monkey – You are. 🙁

  • 21 Ron Knee // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    A bit of arrogance would make a refreshing change!

  • 22 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Jail your timing must really blow hard if we are playing twice a week and you still can’t get to a game ha ha. it’s a good thing these cup games, you get to see the fringes of the squad being developed. I think rafa has no intention of bowing out of them, they might make for a tight schedule but it’s a like a super-academy for rounding out the squad. And they are a cheap bit of entertainment!

  • 23 Novocastrian66 // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:15 PM

    The reverse fixtures are in February,when we have games against the same teams as this month. Our hardest games are bunched up in two months. Our season could hinge on two months. The rest of the season looks fairly regulation which a mixture of one or two toughies and two or three easier matches.

  • 24 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Ron – aye, swagger type arrogance. Not the Pardew type.

  • 25 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Novo- exactly.

  • 26 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:26 PM

    On the swagger thing – I recall vaguely Sir Stanley Matthews being asked why in one game when his side were about five – nil up and cruising along, did he continue to showboat and dribble and pull tricks on the opposition defenders – was he just showing off against easy opposition? His reply was that he was being professional – you had to demonstrate to the opposition that there was no possibility of them getting back into the game, and give other teams who were going to play them that image as well. That was the gist.

    I watched that last cup game from the Gallowgate, there was a point in the second half when two of our players exchanged at least four interchanges of back heel passes and you knew that the game was psychologically beyond reach for that poor team. That’s the sort of ebullient confidence we need to be showing, not like previous seasons tripe where we were so afraid we couldn’t string three short passes together.

  • 27 jimmysmith // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    I don’t see the cynicism in our approach in the transfer market prior to Rafa that some do. I believe we tried to buy cheap and keep our better players, and only selling the odd player that would fetch a premium i.e. Carroll.

    In reality, we didn’t buy to provide adequate depth and balance and so also lost the odd valuable player that became unhappy wanted to go, i.e. Cabaye and hose two things weakened us substantially.

    The approach lacked a manager to push for the depth and balance we fundamentally needed to build a decent side and hold on to it. Now that we have him, the approach may still be there, but be tweaked sufficiently to actually work, and work well.

  • 28 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 9:45 PM

    Yes but the reason the approach lacked a manager with push is because it was in the remit not to have one. I think it’s fairly well explored that the trading in players became a board vote with the heavy hand of financial expediency resting on the whole sorry saga. A scout bought players who fit the budget and then he told the coach what he could have. Add to that he was told not to knack this squad by playing them in too many games (cups). I think the pre-Benitez system was pretty flawed.

  • 29 jimmysmith // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    Yeah, I think the most obvious flaw was in not having a strong manager on board. I wonder if Rafa has bought in to the approach, and has simply negotiated a greater emphasis on buying for the team rather than the club. I hope so, it’s hard to imagine us succeeding against the more senior clubs unless we are very canny in the market, targeting good emerging talent in the right positions, at the right time, at a good price, as well as being thorough and professional in all other areas, as Rafa very much appears to expect.

  • 30 beermonkey // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:05 PM


    why change what rafa does
    Ashley must be very happy
    he has slashed the wage got rid of dead wood and made 1 mill profit plus what we got for sissoko

  • 31 jimmysmith // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    Yeah, I think relegation has forced the owners hand, and we’ve been very lucky to secure Benitez, but I don’t see a huge change of policy, other than good depth and cover in each position. We have still bought young players with potential. Ritchie, Lazaar, Yedlin, Hayden, Sels, Clark, Gayle, Atsu, with a nod to the rigours of the league in Diame, Murphy and Hanley, and none of them overpriced.

  • 32 Tsunki // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:22 PM

    And all without spending money we haven’t got. Hmmm.

  • 33 Ian Toon // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:31 PM

    Jimmy – I appreciate your point. On recent signings I think we need to wait a while before announcing we have performing assets for anything but short term needs. Investing in developing emerging talent is a prerequisite for maintaining the studs quo and not extended success. However, whilst buying for current needs we must plan ahead for a conveyor belt of talent from academy/ under23’s and to meet self sufficiency requirements.

    You could argue that We lag behind already simply because of relegation at a time when financially the PL was the place to be. Other teams who we used to be on a par with have invested in short and long term development and are reaping the rewards We do need on going astute signings at all levels from academy and fit to go PL “stars.” We’ve had 5 year plans before but need one with teeth and financial backing.

  • 34 Ian Toon // Sep 6, 2016 at 10:33 PM

    Studs = status

  • 35 Jail for Ashley // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:11 PM

    Seems like we hardly ever ay twice a week. Haarumph!

  • 36 welshgeordie9 // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:27 PM

    I wonder if sissoko do well at Spurs.

  • 37 welshgeordie9 // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:29 PM

    Think he will be another cabaye, debuchy, ba, cisse, etc.

  • 38 Graeme // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:31 PM

    Welshie, Who cares mate – he’s gone, not out problem!!!

  • 39 welshgeordie9 // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:35 PM


    Just wondering that’s all mate.

  • 40 welshgeordie9 // Sep 6, 2016 at 11:36 PM

    Nearly every player that’s left us, has failed big time.

  • 41 jimmysmith // Sep 7, 2016 at 12:20 AM

    We lag behind by about 20 million if we go back up I think, from where we were, which was in a sound financial position, and with an upper mid table group, if not results. That’s not massive, but we’ve lost two to three years of momentum too. Ashley has spent over the years, but all too often unwisely. Benitez appears set to change that, and still succeed within a sustainable framework, although in the short term he may ask Ashley to invest some more money. That twenty million, on top of what we have in the kitty, plus what we can gain from outgoings, should see us back with a top ten squad, and the manager to guide the group to a position in the table that reflects its strength. The academy and training facilities improvements, I think will not be sustainable for some time and may well require Ashley to dip further into his pocket, and that of course may be where it comes undone.

  • 42 jimmysmith // Sep 7, 2016 at 2:03 AM

    My favoured starting 11 and bench.




    …………………………. Mitrovic…….


  • 43 Santon03 // Sep 7, 2016 at 4:44 AM


    I hope Rafa will be our Arsene Wenger consistently in top 4 and remain here for 20 years, well.. at least 10 years.
    We got relegated and we are still able to get players from leagues above us, got 12 players in and made profit with less budget unlike pardew and sm.
    My hope is he can manage our youngsters and turn them into great pros along the way.

  • 44 Jib // Sep 7, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    Jimmy I don’t see it quite like you.

    The club had major flaws in Finance , Infrastructure , and Mindset – long before Ashley bought us and he barely scratched the surface and in many ways compounded the problems.

    Instead of being the new broom sweeping clean he showed himself to be as arrogant and know-it-all as his predecessor and pretty much became Fat Freddy mark 2.

    From his utterings in the media Shepherd is still a blowhard grandstander who has learned nothing. I don’t think the same is can be said of Ashley.

    Whether messages from the fans have been taken on board (we now have a club that tries !)
    or it’s an economic kick up the backside – is really immaterial – it’s happening before our eyes.

    I think Rafa may be more astute than we think and he sees a season in the Championship with cheaper players on lower wages as an opportunity to really kick on with training facilities and acadamies.
    Melwood in Liverpool and La Fabrica in Madrid have never looked back since feeling the Rafa impact.

    The comprehensive shaking up of NUFC from top to bottom was so overdue it wasn’t funny , and I think it’s now happening before our eyes !

  • 45 Lindisfarne // Sep 7, 2016 at 6:46 AM

    My personal favourite 11, once all match fit:


  • 46 Lindisfarne // Sep 7, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    Jib – did you see someone the other day suggested that MA was all set to buy Xavi when he first became the owner but Aladyce did not want him? Does anything on the websphere support this?

  • 47 Bambams // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    If we manage to get promoted this year I genuinely believe we will become a force with Rafa.

    Not saying top two or three but definitely top six…..

    Just look at what all the players are saying about him now and we are in the Championship.

    PL is a whole different set up but players WANT to play for him.

    Just got to get promoted

  • 48 Jib // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:28 AM

    It may be true
    At the time (late summer 2007) Xavi was recovering from knee ligament damage and putting a lot of bench time in, and we know from later purchases how Ashley liked buying a crock with potential.
    Later that season Xavi went on to be player of the tournament at Euro 2008 and Bayern Munich tried to buy him , but Pep Guardiola convinced him to stay at Barcelona and as they say “the rest is history”.

  • 49 Ian Toon // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    We’ve been down this road before but without a Benitez type at the helm.

    221Ian Toon // Dec 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM
    BandB- I agree. I don’t think it’s solely a financial issue with Ashley. His spats with Dave Whelan and the embarrassment of buying Xisco types and losing a lot of money in his early years as owner culminating in relegation bruised his ego . Here is a man who is a winner who was openly told by media and fan alike that he’d screwed up. He has resolved for that not to happen again. The. Mirroring of an Arsenal style development from the grass roots he believes is the way to go and for me this would be the perfect blueprint. Ashley though wrongly believed that there would be a natural progression this season without overly spending. This did not factor in the additional games and being as lucky with injuries. Last season only Saylor was a long term injury. Ashley again believed we had the youngsters to step up to fill any gap not filled by signings. He tried the fan’s friendly owner bit in the early days and he got too much flack. I really don’t understand what his motivation is other than too slowly improve the product. That contradicts is usual business practice. But this is football so let’s get back to winning ways.

  • 50 Jib // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:40 AM


    The only thing that looks close to it is Allardyce selling Emré to Galatasaray to raise the funds to buy Deco (remember him ) from Barcelona

  • 51 Jib // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    There is also this from the same time span.–perfect-Newcastle-signing.html

  • 52 Jail for Ashley // Sep 7, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    If you don’t see any cynicism in the transfer model before Rafa arrived then I hope you don’t get an email saying you have a rich uncle in Burkina Faso who’s just passed away. It has been all but spelled out that we did not try to keep our better players, they were bought to sell on, hence the constant bleating of Sissoko to move, Cabaye going on strike, Debuchy ferking off after a year and a half. The only ayers we kept are the deadwood that couldn’t be shifted. Sissoko hung around so long gone because he never had a European final to showcase his talent and nobody would have paid more than 12M for him. Tiote was kept because greed kept him here not because we didn’t want him to leave. There was only one CB bought into the PL’s worst defence because a bargain wasn’t to be had. The system wasn’t just flawed it was seriously fcuked up.

  • 53 Ian Toon // Sep 7, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    It’s quite apposite. Having allowed Allardyce to invest and being burnt Ashley hit upon Carr as the antidote and awarded him an 8 year contract.
    It turned out to be just another way to lose an aweful lot of money. That’s before the reevaluation following window sales . Don’t be surprised by Ashley’s caution in giving Benitez his head. The real difference is that Benitez is the complete package and age and let’s hope Ashley continues to recognise it! Benitez could well want to leave a legacy and there’s no better place to do it.

  • 54 Jib // Sep 7, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    Jail for Ashley
    You just repeat the faults that Jimmy acknowledged – he says he thinks it’s just business practice not done very efficiently and not cynicism.
    What is so hard for you to grasp in that?

  • 55 Jail for Ashley // Sep 7, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    Ian Toon,
    Why are you pointing out an old argument that clearly showed you and so many others were wrong about Ashley’s motives. “He’s a winner, of course he wants us doing well”
    “a successful Newcastle is a successful SD”
    Even after we got told we didn’t do cups there were a few who still tried to cling to those statements above. Your bills son’s, Low Fell mags, and TDsarf’s couldn’t even defend the indefensible anymore.

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