The Newcastle United Blog

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

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

Benitez Explains What Is A New Problem For Him

8:22 am, Thursday, September 15th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 15 Comments

Newcastle if anything have overcompensated in the summer when we brought in 12 players and Rafa ensured that in every single position we have two top players – and sometimes more than that – pushing for a start.

The Newcastle manager has about 25 players in his first team squad – all good players – and they are all fit except Rob Elliot and Rolando Aarons at the moment, so it’s going to be difficult for Rafa to give them playing time and keep them happy.


Rafa Benitez at QPR – he looks fairly happy

This is how  Rafa explained his “problem” at Newcastle:

“Mitrovic did well, but so did Ayoze around him and the wingers and defenders.”

“The goalkeeper Matz Sels did well too, and everybody who came off the bench. “Everybody is pushing.”

“To have this problem of Mitrovic, Ayoze, Gayle or Daryl Murphy is a good problem every game.”

“It is not easy to keep everybody happy.”

“Hopefully, we continue winning, and if we have to change players, they will understand it is for the good for the team.”

The current situation is a lot different from the last few years when we didn’t have a big squad and we picked up so many injuries all the time so the team often picked itself and we overplayed our players.

So if we had a had a good player in one position and we were supposed to be after another good player in that position in the transfer window – we would say we don’t need them.

That was the simplistic mentality at the club before Rafa joined Newcastle United.

Rafa will have had a lot of experience keeping good players happy at the other big clubs he has managed.

The key is getting the players to realize they are contributing to the team in training and as part of the 25 man squad, even if they don’t play too much in the first team.

The very fact that we have good player pushing to start means those that when players do play they are likely to play very well just to keep their place.

That’s a very good thing to have in any squad – real competition for places.

It’s just that Newcastle haven’t had a strong and a big squad for a long long time.

It’s a sea change at Newcastle, but it’s what all top clubs have – and Rafa Benitez is making Newcastle into a top team and a top club again.

We can see that happening in front of our eyes – it’s simply inspiring to see it after the last four years which have been terrible and often shameful – if the truth be told.

After thrashing QPR away 6-0 on Tuesday night, we simply must keep our winning streak up – there can be no let up.

Next up is Wolverhampton at home on Saturday afternoon and we must get all 3 points from the game.

Good teams beat the teams in front of them – that’s what we have to do on Saturday afternoon.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Leadership · Management · Newcastle News · Other News · Squad

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jail for Ashley // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:23 AM

    expat on previous.

  • 2 Jail for Ashley // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    Fro last night. I have to disagree re Carver. He also came in at a time when the club needed him more than tge other way round, he could have easily said I’ll take it if I’m allowed to bring in a couple of defenders and keep Santon for the sake of 2M quid. Instead he made excuses for tge club when Santon went even blaming the player which was publicly contradicted. One of his first big decisions was to field a team in the cup designed to go out in tge first round, a fact not lost on the 5K travelling support, the guy done himself no favours despite what SBR or KK thought of him.

  • 3 expatmag // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:34 AM


    All very relevant points and being on this so xalled board and head coach, I am fairly sure he would have had some input.

    As for wanting a centre half, ge already had the lad there in Lascelles who wasnt given an opportunity until Rafa came in and bot, did he play well.

    I was over in blighty this time last year and got to see the three home games in a row against Watford Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea snd apart from about 60 minutes against Chelsea, I have never seen such uninspiring football than over those 3 games.

    The football was uninventive, boring and lacked any form of tactical nous. That us down to the coach……not Mije Ashley

  • 4 hibbit // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    last night was all about opinions some good some bad lets try and move on and enjoy the ride with Rafa
    it’s been such a long time coming

  • 5 Markaccus // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    No matter what restrictions Mash and co put on a manager, Carvup and Wally should still have been able to put 11 men on a pitch and get them to play something resembling a ball game. They couldn’t. Simple. Some of the players are the same as we have now, yet they appear much better. Ok, partly because we are a league down, but mainly because they are passing, running and shooting at the correct times, with what appears to be more than one plan. Why is McWally even talking about us?

  • 6 Markaccus // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Anyway. Enough of these past nightmares. I agree with hibbit, lets enjoy the rebuilding process.

  • 7 toontaff2 // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Steve McLaren seen at Leeds United!

  • 8 Markaccus // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    Poor leeds

  • 9 toontaff2 // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    As a fan!?

  • 10 Steel Dust // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    Ashley could be tempted or buyers could offer Short instead.

  • 11 lesh // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    Rafa’s got a squad of 25 first-team players sand only two injured. What a difference from last season and it just shows what a difference a good manager makes!

  • 12 lesh // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    Rafa’s playing mind games before the Wolves game.

  • 13 hibbit // Sep 15, 2016 at 8:58 AM


    its not just Rafa thats an improvement the coaching staff the medical staff and facilities have all be upgraded to Rafa’s required standard

  • 14 Spoof // Sep 15, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    I may get called worse than muck for what I am about to say, but never mind I’m going to say it anyway—————I work for a multi-national company, Tesco, they are huge and I have had many different bosses in my time, some you can see from day one haven’t a clue what they are doing and as a result I just switch off let them do what they wish and let them face the music, however there have been others who really do try to make a difference and improve all aspects of the work place, even though I have to work harder I do work harder because the boss deserves it, so when we have players who haven’t turned up for McClaren but have for Rafa then I take my hat off to them as I do exactly the in my work place, if a manager is no good I do my best to get rid of him/her, footballers should do the same.

  • 15 Ian Toon // Sep 15, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    I agreed with much of what Lilongwe had to say. The deterioration was over a number of seasons. The recruitment policy was flawed and handicapped all managers until Rafa. Many of us did believe that Macca was joining on similar terms and conditions now enjoyed by Rafa.

    A Mark Douglas article back In May- is well written. He describes our relegation season as being one of denial, incompetence and mistrust. Check it out if you haven’t and let the blog move on to enjoying our flourishing season.

    “The inside story of Newcastle United’s dismal relegation – and the lessons they have to learn
    16:56, 13 MAY 2016 UPDATED 10:24, 18 MAY 2016 BY MARK DOUGLAS”

previous post: McClaren Tries To Rewrite History But Here’s The Truth

next post: Our Man Of The Match – A Star In The Making – A MasterClass