At the beginning of the season the game we played yesterday was the type of game we wondered if we could win.
You can only win if you have players committed to the cause and willing to fight their way through difficult periods of that type of game.
It’s a game we had difficulty even competing in under Steve McClaren last season, but our players this season are transformed under the great Rafa Benitez and we managed to get our 7th win in a row with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Deepdale against a good Lilywhites side.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring second goal yesterday
Preston showed why – before we beat their second team 6-0 on Tuesday night with our second team – they had gone 7 games unbeaten and had beaten Norwich, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Aston Villa in that streak.
Our two best players by far yesterday were striker Aleksandar Mitrovich who got a second brace in four days against Preston to get the win and goalkeeper Karl Darlow who made two terrific saves in the first half and one early in the second half to keep the score-sheet clean before Mitro’s two opportunist goals.
Karl Darlow – great game yesterday
Both players deserve great credit and Mitrovic is showing to his many fans – and he has a lot of them – that he could have been scoring the goals regularly if he had been getting starts in the team.
But with Dwight Gayle already scoring 11 Championship goals it was hard for the manager to choose between the two of them.
It’s going to be even harder now – but as Rafa says – it’s a great problem to have.
Karl Darlow has played well this season in the Newcastle goal and he deserves a lot of credit for the win yesterday – not only for showing he is a very good goalkeeper who is improving under Rafa Benitez, but that he also has real mental strength when it matters.
Rob Elliot has been back in full training for a few weeks now, but it could be difficult for Rob to force his way back into the first team anytime soon with Karl performing consistently well in the side.
However, Rob proved last season he’s a top goalkeeper who simply loves it at Newcastle – so we’ll have to see what happens.
It was the type of win yesterday that we couldn’t get last season, but our players showed mental toughness, resilience and plain guts to get the win.
The lads found a way to win when we were not at our best against a good team.