Rafa Benitez made 8 changes to the side on Tuesday night that had lamely lost 2-0 to Wolves last Saturday afternoon, but one surprise was a player he left in the side – Jonjo Shelvey – ho had a poor game last Saturday.
At the time the team was announced we wondered if this was more good man-management from Rafa Benitez and as it turns out Jonjo was back to playing well again for the team.
Newcastle won fairly easily, but we missed a number of decent opportunities to increase the 2-0 scoreline in the second half.
Jonjo Shelvey – there’s pressure playing for Newcastle United
Jonjo was captain for the night in the absence of Lascelles who was rested – and that must have given the 24 year-old play-maker’s confidence another boost.
Rafa seems to be gaining trust in the player who seems determined to be a success on Tyneside.
Anybody who cuts short his summer holiday and gets a personal trainer in and then loses 14 pounds in weight before the season starts is serious and means business.
Certainly Jonjo has the ability – he just needs to improve his consistency.
This is what Jonjo said about playing for Newcastle and what Benitez told them at halftime on Tuesday night:
“I think coping with the pressure – being a lot of people’s favorites for the league – starts from the manager.”
“At half-time on Tuesday we were 2-0 up and cruising really, but he was still in the dressing room telling us at length that the game was not finished as we needed that third goal to kill them off.”
“I think there is pressure on you playing for Newcastle in this league regardless of where you are in the table or what ground you are playing at.”
“If you can’t deal with that then you shouldn’t be playing football, to be honest.”
Next up are two tough games at Aston Villa and at home to Norwich City – and to really get our season going in the league we really need two wins in those two games.