Rafa Benitez Praise For The Comeback Kid

It really is the story of the season so far and we were really pleased when the transfer deadline came and a Frenchman called Yoan Gouffran was still a Newcastle United player.

He has not had a particularly good time of it in his three and a half years at Newcastle, but he’s been born again under Rafa Benitez who has managed to get him playing his best football at Newcastle and maybe some of the best football in his career.

Newcastle fans certainly love a player who gives his all in every single game and never gives up – and we have that player in the 30 year-old former French U-21 International.


Yoan Gouffran after scoring terrific first goal

This is what Rafa said about Yoan first and then about all our players who are really starting to produce some excellent and professional displays:

“Gouffran is working hard and he’s so professional.” “He scored a great goal, so if he can carry on doing that I will be pleased. The good thing is you can see that even the players who aren’t playing are focused.”

“You can see the commitment in the training sessions and you can see everybody trying. That has to be the way.”

“Maybe the players who weren’t involved in the past can now be a big part in the success. It’s a very good message to the rest of the squad.”

“We had more control in the first half and scored the goal.” “Everything was easier, when I say easier I mean we knew what we had to do.” “In the second half they were pushing and pushing.”

“We needed a second goal to finish it and then to enjoy.” “It’s been a tough day against a tough team and the main thing for me has been to see us working as a team from the strikers to the keeper.”

“And also the players who came on from the bench.” “That is for me the most important thing for the future.”

Newcastle are now starting to look like the team we were hoping for – a team who goes into every game trying to win – and wins most of them.

After two defeats to start the season we now have 12 points from first six games with the best goal difference (+6) in the division.

If we can keep up that average of 2 points per game we should be on 92 points at the end of the season and likely be in an automatic promotion place.

Here’s hoping.

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39 comments so far

  • Belfast

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:28 PM

    Comment #1

    Well credit where it’s due – Jail for Ashley was right on this one. Hallelujah praise the lord. I didn’t see it coming at all to be honest. I’m pleased for him.

  • martoon

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:31 PM

    Comment #2

    Decent highlights here for anybody who didn’t see today’s game.

  • martoon

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:35 PM

    Comment #3

    Also Ed I would disagree with “He has not had a particularly good time of it in his three and a half years at Newcastle”. I would say his first season and most of his second he was a fixture in the first team – it is only since then he fell out of favour – some on this blog would say because he was Pardewed but now he has been Rafa-ed 🙂

  • NoahJ

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Comment #4

    the thing that probably pleases me the most is the 4 clean sheets in a row.

  • martoon

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:43 PM

    Comment #5

    NoahJ @4 – I can’t understand that statement – so you are saying you would prefer a 0 – 0 draw to a 2 – 1 victory?

  • Harley

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    Comment #6


    I know what you meant.

  • stuart no9

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:51 PM

    Comment #7

    must say , goofy , wow what a goal . the good thing about the goal is , a couple of years ago , he wouldnt even have attempted that . it just goes to show how much confidence raffa is instilling in the team and the squad . brilliant

  • Belfast

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:04 PM

    Comment #8

    I think Noah means it’s pleasing to see us solid at the back and able to grind a win out – rather than the usual keystone cops defending where you don’t feel comfortable unless you’re three goals up lol

    I agree. 🙂

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    Comment #9

    Yes. Yedlin could’ve had two goals if Diame had screwed his loaf. I loved his speed and eagerness to get in the danger area.

  • Harley

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:09 PM

    Comment #10

    Yedlin – fastest ever player in toon shirt?

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    Comment #11

    Gouffran was a valuable part of the team today and it was great to see.

    It was an outstanding shot, but him striking the ball well with decent power is nothing new, I’ve noticed it when he first arrived. Comfortable on the ball, decent pace. He’s not Ronaldo but he’s been drastically misused by the other two serial underachievers.

    Quality manager in and the Pardew hex has all but worn off, same with Anita. These were not useless players, they just had useless managers and sucked the life out of them through cohesive and tactical incompetence.

    Great result today.

  • JamesToon

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #12

    Thought dummett was a lot better and more positive tonight, put in some decent crosses and defended well

  • jane

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #13

    During the TV show Superstars in 1975 Malcolm MacDonald ran 100m in 10.9 seconds.

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:41 PM

    Comment #14

    Jane, was that the same show where Duncan McKenzie jumped over a mini cooper and threw a golf ball the length of a football pitch. It’s a bit fuzzy after all these years, but in my minds eye he’s wearing a turtle neck, bell bottoms and cuban heels as he does it. The salad days of sports entertainment!

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #15

    Just googled it. “Salad days”, might be a stretch.

  • manxpie

    Sep 11, 2016 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #16

    goofy did exactly what he has done the whole time he has been here done his job!
    a few minutes before his goal he did a great job in defending in our own corner
    it’s just people like to hate at least 1 player!
    colback is the same! if u actually watched him he was all over the place all game and stopping potential passes and then sprinting back in to posistion
    thats why derby didn’t get down the middle all game but gets unnoticed because he isn’t scoring goals or spraying 50 yard passes!
    ridiculous really same with dummett saved us twice at least tonight but no praise
    it makes me wonder what people expect from colback and dummett!!??

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 11, 2016 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #17

    Colback and Dummett survived the cull and made the 18 and got the start so that probably tells you all you need to know. Gouffran and Ritchie are both up and back effectively and may well offer the perfect balance on the flank. Would be very pleased for Gouffran and the side if that turns out to be the case. If Lazaar is also good both ways he’ll have the whip hand for the left back spot I think, but agree Dummett is doing well.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Sep 11, 2016 at 12:16 AM

    Comment #18

    Nice to see the odd flash of Yedlin’s pace as well for the little time he was on for. Hopefully, Rafa can harness it and make it work effectively within the team.

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 11, 2016 at 12:58 AM

    Comment #19

    Whilst the win was the most important thing today – 3 points for the promotion drive – I have to say Derby were pretty poor.
    I’d predicted a 3 -0 win but really the game today was no blood curdling spectacle of fine Association Football. Would like to see a big man up front – we’ve got too many pixies in the team.
    Again – the win is the main thing but man so far as a spectacle it does not have me on the edge of my seat.

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 11, 2016 at 1:06 AM

    Comment #20

    I see Jib Jibberish ( blog pest and trusted lieutenant to his blog boss Ian Toon) – got his jacksie caned earlier on by saying Manuel Riviere scored at the Bernabeu when in fact it was Oriol Riera.

    What a tool – dangers of knowing nowt about football.
    He did a similar gaffe last year saying Perez had won a marathon – different Perez.
    What a tool.

  • lesh

    Sep 11, 2016 at 1:39 AM

    Comment #21

    Mr Tuff

    Be fair on Jib; it’s not him making mistakes, it’s Google’s coming up with the wrong answers!

  • DeanToon88

    Sep 11, 2016 at 3:56 AM

    Comment #22

    Newcastle united are certain to go up this season and if we continue in the way we are we will destroy this league, howay the lads!!!

  • expatmag

    Sep 11, 2016 at 4:30 AM

    Comment #23


    Dont be stupid. Nothing is guaramteed.

  • Jib

    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    Comment #24

    It may be an Aussie thing
    is a bit strong to call a kid who’s just getting carried away a bit,
    If we can pull away with the rest chasing us by Xmas it will make it so much easier for Rafa to do business in the winter window.
    There again he may not want to disturb the balance of a good squad until Summer.

  • Jib

    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:17 AM

    Comment #25

    Chancel M’bemba hardly put foot wro.ng yesterday.
    I know he was born in the Congo but he learned his football in Belgium.
    Why do the Belgians produce such good defenders ?
    Kompany – Vertonghen – Vermaelen – Alderweireld – Meunier an impressive list .

  • Jib

    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    Comment #26

    Hasselbaink will have watched us on TV yesterday after his side drew at home against Blackburn at 3pm.
    The way Rafa thinks – Jimmy Floyd could well have been wasting his time – as it will probably be a completely differently set up side with new personnel at Loftus Road on Tuesday.

  • Veltman

    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    Comment #27

    Another great result.I don’t give flyers whether they played good or bad as long as it’s wins.

    Jib – Mbemba is my favorite and the most important player in the squad.Without him,the defense is pants.Also pleased to hear Shelvey finds some form.We now won two important games against the supposed promotion rivals.
    Things are looking positive.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:38 AM

    Comment #28

    The highlights if you’re outside the UK:-


  • Jib

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Comment #29

    Pity the poor side that Mitro starts against.
    There was a quick shot of him on the bench yesterday – he looked like he had steam coming out his ears !

  • Jib

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    Comment #30

    I wonder if Yedlin is the first US citizen to score for the Toon ?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #31

    Nice work last night Jibberish, if anything you bring consistency to the blog, great win for the lads yet you take the gloves off!

  • Novocastrian66

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    Comment #32

    The thing that got me yesterday was the persistent diving off the Derby players in trying to win a penalty. The ref could have prevented this by booking Olson for his ridiculous dive. Also he seemed keen to book Newcastle players. Shelvey’e booking was fair enough but the others were a bit harsh especially Goofy’s.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #33

    It would soften the blow of not winning a grand if Armstrong keeps know ocki g in goals like that.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #34

    Great result
    Got the job done
    But I thought we were too defensive at times as I thought Derby’s defence looked poor when we attacked – but I suppose I have to get use to it.
    Too many backhand sideways passes
    My MOM was Lascalles who looked class yesterday headed everything put into the box
    Followed by: Anita – showed he can read the game rarely misses a tackle
    Goufran (great goal) and tireless running trying to link up defence midfield and attack
    Diame – another impressive power display but maybe could of done better when he burst forward

    Rest of team

    Still not impressed with SELS flaps at crosses and seems to forget where his goal is and is back peddling flapping at the ball – nearly got caught out twice.
    Dummett – Defended well but use of ball poor
    Mbemba – Good game but mistook nearly let in Derby
    Colback – Did what he had to do but slows the momentum down with too many square and backward passes
    Shelvey – decent game but slowed the ball down and passed backwards too much for me
    Ritchie – decent game but was starved of the ball
    Gayle – Again starved of the ball needs a fellow striker to play off.

    Subs: Yedlin – looks a decent buy for this league got stuck in where it matters for second goal
    Perez – nice lay back for goal
    Hayden- not on long enough to asses

    Best player on the pitch maybe because of his dyed blonde hair made him stand out was Lee Hughes

  • cyprus

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    Comment #35

    Nice to be able to comment about a game I actually watched in full.

    General comments: Rafa got the balance spot on, surrendering the majority of possession (53%, thought it was more), and generally playing a solid 11. One can’t complain about such a generally solid performance, where the opponents hardly threatened (p.s. they have a scoring problem), but, our 3 shots on target are something to think about. On a positive note, loved it that Rafa was coaching from the sidelines. You could hear him shouting for everyone to come out and press the second they played a back-pass. Even the opponents may have been unnerved.

    Derby are a team full of very talented footballers, when they get it right they’ll be beating teams. So, good we played them now.

    Our players all earned their salaries. Still, Perez and Gayle could’ve done better, you could say. Ritchie too, though less so and though he was excellent defensively.

    MOM was a hard one. Gouffy for scoring a cracker (and tilting the game solidly in our favour) and putting in a shift? Anita for eliminating the threat of that tricky little guy, and more? The other 3 defenders for being super solid throughout? Shelvey who, despite his usual passes to… imaginary players and occasional switching off, was battling all over, generally passed well, had a calming influence, and instead of pointing was there himself? Yedlin for being genuinely talented and fast (and possibly scoring)? (PS. he had very few minutes)…Finally went with unfancied Colback. He covered every blade, hardly allowed anyone to breathe around him, and probably had 100% accuracy. A top top performance for that position.

  • ScoopSouthAfrica

    Sep 11, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #36

    Gr8 result yesterday, bring on QPR.
    A bit of light hearted levity this Sunday morning, Ashley is a great name as long as it is followed by James and not preceded by Mike.

  • DubaiMicky

    Sep 11, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #37

    @cyprus, BBC are saying we had 47% possession, but, I watched it all too and thought it more.

  • SA Toon

    Sep 11, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #38

    #Rod Knee Thanks for posting the Sky Sport footage. Not sure if it’s an accurate reflection of the game but, other than the goals (two good goals), it shows Derby doing all the attacking. From that footage (and I’m hoping it wasn’t representative of the game) it seems we were lucky to win. Our defense looked a little disorganized and it seems we were saved by some poor finishing by Derby. Please tell me there was more to the game than that!

  • ScoopSouthAfrica

    Sep 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #39

    SA Toon…..
    Where in South Africa do you live? or is it South Australia?


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