There’s no doubt it was a difficult game for us on Saturday in the first half and then in the last 20 minutes or so after we had gone two goals up with another brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Preston played very well on the day and they will take a lot of positives out of the game and against a lesser team than Newcastle they could (would) have won – they are a good team.
One of the things we like about Rafa after each game, whether we win, lose or draw is how he sums up the game in real football terms, what happened, what didn’t happen, where we fell short.
He never ever looks for excuses when we lose or draw a game.
Rafa Benitez on the sidelines at Deepdale
When we lose it’s always because something we did or didn’t do in the game – and it’s never the referee’s fault or anything daft like that.
That’s how a real winner talks and thinks – Rafa never looks for excuses.
This is how the Newcastle manager responded when asked what was the thing that he most happy with in Saturday’s performance:
“In general the team spirit.” “The work-rate of the team and the organisation were fine.”
“You cannot avoid one or two situations where you are under pressure and make a mistake or they take advantage.”
“But in terms of the organisation of the team, how they were working, the understanding of what they had to do.”
“It was quite good – especially at the beginning of the second half.” “It was not easy because they were pushing and pushing so we needed to defend well,”
“We couldn’t keep the ball on the floor or pass it in the way we wanted to because they were pressing all the time and they were very, very physical.”
“In the second half, as soon as we scored the goal then we had more space and we could be a threat on the counter attack.”
“You could see when we scored the second goal that, for me, we were closer to scoring a third goal than they were to scoring.”
“But then they scored and we were suffering in the last minutes, but sometimes it’s like this.”
There’s a brilliant and fairly short summary of the game from a top football manager.
Credit has to go to Simon Grayson and the Preston team for the way they played and pressed Newcastle on the day and that’s one way to stop the Magpies – but that would tend to stop any team.
But Rafa will want to see an improved performance from the side on Saturday afternoon against lowly Cardiff City.
Hopefully we can sign off this batch of six games in thee weeks with another win – and a good one at that.