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Rafa Lauds New Arrival – He Works Hard – He’s A Good Player

8:22 am, Monday, September 26th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 52 Comments

Christian Atsu has looked good when he’s been given his chance at Newcastle and the Ghanaian International is hoping to make his loan move from Chelsea for the season – a permanent one in the summer.

Atsu is still fairly new to Newcastle and Rafa thinks he probably needs to get to know more about the way the team plays before he starts playing him on a more regular basis in the first team, but he’s already made 3 appearances for the team.


Christian Atsu in action at QPR

The 24 year-old was a substitute on Saturday but didn’t get on.

This is what Rafa said about the 42 times capped Ghanaian International (9 goals) after the game on Saturday at Villa Park:

“I think he’s a good player. We brought him here because we know that he’s a good player.”

“Maybe he is the type of player that needs to know the Championship and to understand the way we play.”

“He went away with the national team in the first 10 days of his Newcastle career.”  “We have not had much time with him but I am really pleased with him.”

“He is a nice lad, he is working hard, he’s different to the other lads we have.” “I think he can be a good player for us.”

“It depends on the games.” “I thought he could have been an option but they were throwing so many balls in the air we need to have strength in the air.”

“You never know. He could make the difference in games on the counter attack.”

“I am really pleased with him, he’s training well and working hard and I am sure he will give us good games.”

It seems that Christian can become a really good player for us and he has both speed and skill on the right wing – and can score goals too.

He could make his 4th appearance for the side on Wednesday night and he could even start that game.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Christian Atsu · Coaching · Loan Moves · Management · Newcastle News · Transfer News and Rumours

52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    posada thinks that Rafa Benitez’s fifth place team with the best GD in the division need to start delivering, we have only played 9 games so far with a brand new team, he also thinks that the rotation policy doesn’t work. Here is a list of honours won by our UEFA elite manager with said policy.
    Valencia La Liga: 2001–02, 2003–04
    UEFA Cup: 2003–04
    Liverpool FA Cup: 2005–06
    FA Community Shield: 2006
    UEFA Champions League: 2004–05
    UEFA Super Cup: 2005
    Inter Milan Supercoppa Italiana: 2010
    FIFA Club World Cup: 2010
    Chelsea UEFA Europa League: 2012–13
    Napoli Coppa Italia: 2013–14
    Supercoppa Italiana: 2014

    Individual awards
    La Liga Best Coach: 2002
    UEFA Manager of the Year: 2003–04, 2004–05
    LMA Special Merit Award: 2006
    Premier League Manager of the Month (6): November 2005, December 2005, January 2007, October 2008, March 2009, April 2013

  • 2 JP...from The Rock // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    It will be hard for him to replace Ritchie who has been excellent for us. But I love tricky players with speed to burn and he fits the bill.

  • 3 Yo-yo // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    The pattern is emerging on here is that as soon as we drop a point or lose a game then the rotation policy critics come on and post where Rafa’s selection policy has got it all wrong. I doubt it.

    We all knew what we were getting. It isn’t as if he has ever been unsuccessful.

    We knew that the previous head coaches were picking people well out of position, playing the same starters game after game, regardless of form, sometimes even carrying niggles, for the sake of stability or some vain hope the view would improve. It didn’t. And we got loads of injuries into the bargain.

    We now have a real tactician, who selects sides for the upcoming game based on his tactics for that game. They are not always ths same tactics either.
    Rafa’s career win % is only just over 50% (go compare it with the previous 3 coaches) so even he doesn’t get it right every time – and the other side is usually trying to outscheme or outplay us anyway. Players don’t always do their job properly and then their are laspses in form and errors on the pitch.
    There is no perfect system even if you have 11 £100million rated players on.

    I for one am perfectly happy with the Rafalution, rotation, his choice of starting 11s, and his work round the club. He thinks, and explains his thinking even if his predecessors could only manage excuses. Long may it continue.

  • 4 JP...from The Rock // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Yo-yo- amen to that. The only thing that bigs me with Rafa is why is he sticking with Sels!? He has been very poor to say the least. He is a liability and makes everyone nervous. Why not try Darlow in a couple of league games and see how he does? We have never had a poor goalie in 20 plus years but now we do and he keeps starting. I bet Darlow, Elliot and Krul are much better and should be miles ahead of him in the pecking order. Apart from that I love the fact we have Rafa as our coach.

  • 5 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    People saying he got it wrong on Saturday, if we’d been 3-0 up before Yedlin went off then he’d have been a tactical genius, no matter what decisions he makes he can’t ensure that Diame and Gayle bury their chances. He does need to look at resting Lascelles though, he must now know that.
    ”The Belgian stopper’s indecision and poor handling was clearly affecting those in front of him with Jamaal Lascelles clearly waving his hands in frustration towards the bench after Sels completely missed yet another cross”

  • 6 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Lascelles??? Sels

  • 7 JP...from The Rock // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    ‘Bigs me’ *bugs me lol

  • 8 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Our defensive line was as solid as I’ve seen for ages. Much as I like Mbemba, those two in the middle were rock solid. Same can be said for the two FB’s.

    AV really didn’t get much of a look in at all, the win seemed assured, even with a one goal advantage. Ayew’s effort was a moment of brilliance.

    Of course, the line would’ve been great if the keeper had had a better game. Crosses kept coming in deeper and deeper as it became clear he was hugging his line.

  • 9 Budge123 // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Why is it that whenever someone dares to suggest that rotation is costing us points everyone points out ‘he’s always done it like this’ ‘you knew what you were getting ‘

    So what – does that mean we can’t debate or question?

    Rafa’s long list of great honours has been posted (again ). Look at the list apart from 2 leagues 12 years ago it’s a list of cups (a long list granted ).

    If he’s always rotated then his achievements show it’s hardly ever worked in the leagues.

    We need promotion this season or god knows where this club will be heading.

    so I’ll keep questioning rotation as I see fit thanks

  • 10 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Having criticised the goalie, I hope what Lascelles was signalling to the bench isn’t what it seems, or that Biffa got it wrong. What, he was saying our keeper is useless?! Well done captain 🙂

  • 11 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    Budge you are right.
    Rafa or god himself isn’t beyond constructive criticism.

  • 12 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    PS. I’m not against rotation. Despite drawbacks there are serious benefits. It will probably translate to a stronger finish as other sides will be getting battle scarred.

    Still, some combinations may not work. And some key ‘winning’ players (and formulas) will need more game time

  • 13 Laurent Robert 32 // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Yo yo @3 Good post, I agree.

  • 14 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    With Yedlin a serious doubt for the Norwich game and with Anita and Gamez already ruled out who will play at RB.

  • 15 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Mbemba will probably need to come in at right back for the Norwich game which would maybe suit him a little better as he has pace and can bring the ball out

    Clark and Lascalles were excellent so would be good to see both of them get a little run together in the middle

  • 16 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 9:59 AM


    that will probably be the case with the only other possibilities being Lazaar played as a right back or Hayden as a right back with Tiote taking Hayden’s DM position, I very much doubt that it will be Lazaar but bringing Tiote in would give Hayden at RB the protection that he may need, but if I was forced to place a bet on it I would agree with yourself and Mbemba.

  • 17 Sav // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    tbh, I’d have rather seen Murphy or Atsu brought on instead of Mitro on Saturday. The legend of our Serbian hitman is overshadowing the reality – the lad can’t score. And he’s got neither a turn of foot nor a great first touch to bring others into play.

  • 18 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    As for the rotation policy I do have my doubts about it, the benefits are easy to see, it keeps everyone on their toes and the fitness levels will benefit greatly from it, the downside for me is that the fluidity could be jeopardised and against Wolves I feel that was the case, however you cannot blame the rotation policy for throwing away two points against Villa as we were very fluent and played very well for most of the game, but if guilt edges chances repeatedly get missed then we can look no further than that for why we didn’t win.

    All a manager can do is to set them up with a tactic to give his players the best chance of winning the game, it is then up to the players to do their bit and win it, Rafa done his part but the players didn’t, no way can we blame the rotation policy, and that is coming from a rotation sceptic.

  • 19 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:08 AM


    Yeah for me we lost the midfield battle once Hayden had to go to right back and he didn’t look 100% comfortable at right back either

    At least with Mbemba he could just focus on defending as he will probably be up against Hoolahan or Brady

  • 20 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Last year we beat them what, 5-2? Commentators were saying this is a wake up call for promoted teams, you can’t go gung ho against PL teams (us!) or you will be punished.

    More of that please.

  • 21 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Gamez isn’t injured though is he? He’s just being given time to adapt last I saw

  • 22 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:24 AM


    I must have that wrong then as I thought he was injured.

  • 23 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    I could have swore that he has a calf injury but I could be wrong.

  • 24 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    I honestly don’t know mate I recall he picked up a knock but it wasn’t serious and last I saw team news wise Rafa had a full squad to pick from barring Aaron’s, Elliott and Anita

  • 25 Ron Knee // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    On this day:-

    “On 26 September 2008, Kinnear was named as the interim manager of Premier League side Newcastle United.”

    And the rest is history!

  • 26 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:39 AM


    I hope that I am wrong and that he is available as he would slot straight in, he was defo left out of the Wolves cup game due to a calf i njury but whether he is fit enough now I don’t know.

  • 27 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:40 AM


    Thanks for the good memories you have brought flooding back lol

  • 28 Rotonda heights // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    gilt edge not guilt edge

  • 29 Ron Knee // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:49 AM


    Those were the days!

  • 30 Rotonda heights // Sep 26, 2016 at 10:49 AM


    6-2, wijni 4 goals

  • 31 posada // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    Seems I’ve upset the Rafa for Pope Brigade by daring to question his rotation policy.
    Firstly, I don’t see anyone else rotating to that extent. Has Rafa rotated to that extent in the past.

    Aguero doesn’t get rotated much.
    Harry Kane played all of Spurs games for a year or so before his injury. Or so it was mentioned on TV over the weekend.

    Rafa was Liverpool manager for 6 years. In that time Jamie Carragher played Premier League games as follows.
    What sort of rotation was that.

  • 32 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    I hope so too haha though I think Mbemba could do well there if not

    Any idea how bad Yedlin is? He was brilliant against Villa and him coming off changed the game imo

  • 33 jayphoto // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Managed to catch 2 games live so far and a few on the tv, one thing I’ve noticed about sels, he adds to the team in a different way to our normal keepers. He’s a lot more modern. His standing position when we have the ball is about 15 yards further forward than Elliott/darlow and the players use him a lot more as a simple ball to retain possession when teams press. His footwork is very good and his coolness with the ball at his feet and passing is good. Even when he plays it long we invariably retain possession. He’s Obviously taking time to adapt to the physical nature of the league as keepers on the continent don’t get as much as brushed against. For me, rafa has obviously placed importance on a sweeper keeper, and lets be honest, darlow is absolutely terrible with the ball at his feet, and Elliot isn’t much better.
    Watch the next Newcastle game, watch how many times sels has the ball at his feet and retains the possession, hes a big part of how rafa sets up.
    Also, against Villa, Gouffran let his man get the jump on him. Not been mentioned much because he’s the current darling of the fans (rightly so, hes played well) but he should have been stronger.

  • 34 jayphoto // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    good to see tiote on the pitch! Hes a good player when he gets going. Better than championship level! Anyone else notice he looks about a stone lighter?

  • 35 manxpie // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    Ron so that means in a couple of days time we can all celebrate the anniversary of the most C words used in 2 mins ever!!

  • 36 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    Bad examples there mate Aguero gets injured a lot and Spurs had to play Kane because they had no one else. Also both in the pl where there are less games

    We have at least two good options in each position and more games

    Singling out Carra aswell he was a key player for Liverpool, Lascelles Hayden Dummett and Ritchie haven’t seen much rotation either for us

    The rotations working imo it has draw backs but so does every strategy otherwise there’d only be 1 way everyone played

  • 37 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    Sorry mate but we need a keeper not another defender otherwise we might aswell stick another out field player in a keeper outfit and be done with it

  • 38 jayphoto // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    I don’t mind the rotation! I think theres 3 players that should start most games. The keeper (as rotation isn’t great for gks) Lascelles, and shelvey (dictates our play when others don’t)
    Every other position, its horses for courses for me. Rafa used clark against villa, he got MOTM, I’d probably use mbemba against Norwich as they have quick strikers but Hanley against other sides.
    Similarly I’d Play mitro or Murphy against Norwich as they seem to struggle with big strikers but Gayle against Rotherham as they play a higher line.
    The rotation and options makes it very hard for opposing managers to prepare for what rafa will put out and will probably get us more points than not. We literally have different style players of the same ability in most positions!
    Also… when did a 1-1 draw at villa park become the end of the world? They’ll be up there or there abouts at the end of the season, have spent a fortune, have a good squad etc, i’d take away draws at both villa and Norwich if we beat them at home.

  • 39 jayphoto // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    @wwsbrd – see what you’re saying. I just still think Sels will come good! I’d stick by him. For me, I don’t rate Elliot, and Darlow is never better than a second choice premier league keeper. Sels or woodman have unlimited potential with the right coaching and application. Doubt woodman is near ready so I’d go with sels everytime compared to what we’ve got

  • 40 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Sels will come good hopefully but right now hes costing us points and worrying the defenders. He’s done nothing to warrant starting over Darlow for me (he ended last season well and he’s been replaced by a lad who can’t catch a ball or make a save so far)

  • 41 Spoof // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:28 AM


    I tend to agree with you on Sels, I think he is an excellent keeper but he really does need to catch the ball as his constant punching is only encouraging our opponents to continue with their crossing in the hope that his punch will fall for them, if he can’t improve that area of his game then for me he is no good which would be a crying shame as the rest of his game is spot on, but sadly when it comes to crosses I don’t think dracula is as scared of them as much as what Sels is, but if he can improve that area which I’m sure they are working on then he could be a real top keeper, but without that improvement them I’m afraid I would rather have Darlow or Elliot.

  • 42 jayphoto // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:31 AM

    @wwsbrd – I guess we don’t see how they train etc
    I still think the villa goal was combination of errors from a few. Mitro’s ridiculous back heel that lost us the ball, the ref giving the corner when it wasn’t and I think gouffran could have been stronger.
    Tho he’s explained it, I think rafa could have prevented it with substitutions too. Villa went crazily direct, I thought gouffan and diame looked ran out by 75 minutes, could have brought on some serious height in Hanley and gone either 5-4-1 or moved clark into defensive midfield where hes played a fair few times to counter the aerial threat

  • 43 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Norwich have done well this season but they have not been put under any pressure in games at all we will test their back 4 a lot more than other teams

  • 44 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    What I can’t believe is that we never had anyone on the posts again it was the same as the Fulham goal we conceded from the corner regardless of Sels flapping if we had someone on the line it would have been cleared !!

  • 45 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    All our goals so far have come from errors but when ur a keeper and u make errors it’s a goal. The Villa shot was saveable

    The two against Wolves very saveable. The lad is yet to catch a ball or really save a shot, our defence is limiting the shots at goal so well that he’s able to coast because he’s barely facing anything but when he has he’s looked very suspect

    We have a better keeper on the bench why not play him, reputation means nothing if ur performances don’t go along with it

  • 46 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    Same point I made mate Norwich have done great so far but they’ve played no one whereas this is our last tough fixture in a run of 6 ones after this, imo, we will pull away going into Jan

  • 47 clinath@ed // Sep 26, 2016 at 11:46 AM

    It doesn’t matter what we, as fans, think of him. The Back four look scared stiff of him….and that is not good for the team.

  • 48 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Sep 26, 2016 at 12:02 PM


    Yeah I also feel Rafa will adjust the tactics in October to set up differently against the smaller teams who will park the bus will hopefully mean Atsu , Lazaar and a target man will get more game time!

  • 49 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    Aye I hope so mate also hope Lazaar settles quickly and makes the LB his own

    Atsu looks like he could have a field day in attacking these levels of teams though Goofy and Ritchie look hard to replaces atm

  • 50 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    Like myself you were very anti Mike Ashley and I agreed with your many rants about the state of the club, Ashley, as it should be, is hardly getting a mention these days as we seem to be getting run like a proper football club that try to do what proper football clubs do and win or achieve something other than existence. So why do the likes of you, JMiley and a few others seem to be keep on having a go about everything and anything, is it because you are just generally moaning cnuts!

  • 51 posada // Sep 26, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    WWSBRD at 36.
    I don’t think the examples were that bad. When they are fit they play. Likewise Messi and Ronaldo.
    They play in the Prem, but with cup games, champions league and internationals they will probably play the same number of games as our players.
    I don’t think it helps to rotate strikers. If you play and score you should keep your place. One of them has to step up and get 20 goals. more difficult when you are in and out most of the time.

  • 52 posada // Sep 26, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    As it happens I am a miserable old git.
    I don’t think I’m having a go about everything. I’m simply making a point about the rotation.
    I’m pleased with Rafa as manager, but that does not mean I have to accept everything without question.
    Rafa for Pope was/is turning into a mania.
    He has never had such complete control at a club. I hope he does not try to be too clever.
    As I started off. The table will not lie. He has been given the backing and more resources than any other club.

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