Last season we found it extremely difficult to win games away from home and we ended up winning only two road games and losing 14 in 19 attempts in the league and those wins were rather fortuitous ones.
We somehow beat Bournemouth 1-0 when Rob Elliott made five world-class saves to keep us in the game and then at Spurs Ayoze Perez scored in stoppage time to give us a 2-1 win after a first half in which Spurs missed a number of good chances.
Rafa Benitez on the training field
But Rafa Benitez has already changed the mentality of the squad and we now have more of a winning mentality – thank goodness.
And in four away games so far this season we have won more on the road than we won all of last season a dn we so far have three wins in four attempts.
Rafa today has explained the differences Newcastle will find in playing away as compared to playing at St. James’ Park, when most teams will come and park the bus to frustrate Newcastle at home.
This is what Rafa has said:
“Sometimes it is like that, especially when you are a top side in the division.” “Normally, teams will play a certain way when they come here.”
“You could see that with Wolves the other day – their game plan was to wait and play on the counter-attack.”
“We made mistakes and that was fine for them.”
“They didn’t do anything different in the second game, but we changed something for Tuesday night’s EFL Cup tie and we were much better.”
“Normally, at home, the other teams will defend and know that you have to take responsibility.”
“But when you are playing away, they have to attack you more and then you have a little bit more space.”
It’s a very big game today at Villa Park and it will be the very first time that two managers who have won the Champions League have met in England’s second division.
Benitez won with Liverpool in 2005 and was the losing finalist two years later – and Roberto Di Matteo won with Chelsea in 2013.
In fact the Premier League and the Championship each have two managers who have won the Champions League – Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are the two managers who have won the top European prize in the Premier League.
It should be a good game today and if we are to win then Newcastle will need to be somewhere near their best form.