Newcastle Doing Well But Rafa Still Wants To See Improvement

Rafa Benitez has got Newcastle well organized in almost every facet of their play and that includes being able to score goals from set-plays, something that former head coach Alan Pardew had big trouble with.

Ciaran Clark headed home from a Jonjo Shelvey cross after only 11 minutes on Saturday against Brentford.

That goal put Newcastle on course to a good 3-1 win against Brentford who we have to remember are one of the better sides in the Championship.


Rafa Benitez in training

Scoring 10 goals from set pieces is the highest in the Championship although we are still having trouble defending set pieces and we conceded from a corner after 52 minutes after being 3-0 up early in the second half.

So at least defensively we still need to improve on set plays.

This is what Rafa Benitez has said about set plays:

“We work every week on set-plays and try to analyse what we do and the ways we can improve.”

“There are little things like the understanding between players that is getting better – but still we can improve.”

“I am pleased though because we are improving those things.” “Brentford didn’t have too many chances.”

“We made a couple of mistakes but conceding like we did from a corner when they get ahead of you and flick the ball on, it’s very difficult to stop that.”

“Still I think we are doing well.”

Now the lads travel to Barnsley for tomorrow night’s game and we are just one point off Norwich City who currently top the league.

Huddersfield Town lost at home 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday afternoon so we are level on points with them now on 25 after 12 games played, but we have a much superior goal difference.

Another win and who knows we could be top of the league after this game.

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What do you think?

Comments welcome.

8 comments so far

  • cyprus

    Oct 17, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #1


    If you back read my posts, you’ll see that I too was critical of the ‘person deity’ Rafa got (Khrushchev condemned that mentality in..1956!), especially as he didn’t manage to save us with 30 potential points in his hands.

    But, in truth, he has been doing very well. We are second, on a good path to promotion, we can’t ask for too much more. At this stage, he deserves credit. Hats off.

    I think Rafa’ll need to improve Perez, or eventually sell, true. And Mitro needs playing time too. But Mitro’d probably understand that, as Gayle is scoring, he stays out. Gayle slackens, he’s in. (I hope)

  • Vask

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    Comment #2

    Hi Cyprus,
    You say if Gayleforce slackens mitro will be in. What would you say would be the trigger threshold for a dip in form? I wonder if the coaching line at the club set the target, or maybe based on points or percentages, what would you set it at?

  • Vask

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    Comment #3

    Excuse my staccato English, am geordie.

  • mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #4

    Think we’ll swap positions with Norwich a bit over next month or two before consolidating our position at the top over Xmas period when we have even more games – luckily this is where Rafas rotation policy and a big squad will come into effect as Norwich start to struggle with injuries / lack of form / tiredness etc

  • Vask

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:06 AM

    Comment #5

    I suppose some of the criticisms directed at rafa’s rotation policy have been about implementing it too soon but it could be so that it keeps all the players ready to slot in and be sharp when the fixture congestion really kicks in.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #6

    He was being deified for just bringing a glimmer of hope to what has being one of the most depressingly pointless episodes of our long history.

  • Jib

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #7

    NUFC and Norwich are becoming like us and the Baggies in season 2009/10 .

    That time it remained nip and tuck between us until the new year when we pulled away.

    WBA ended up on a creditable 91 points with us on a stunning 102.

  • mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:14 AM

    Comment #8

    Jib – yup, think it’ll go the same way …. hopefully


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