Brilliant Benitez Sums Up Win In Real Football Terms

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.

Here’s hoping.

Comments welcome.

42 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #1

    I don’t think this new set up has anything to do with Ashley realising it wasn’t working before, it was working fine until that pesky relegation got in the way. We’d have had another five years of 10th to 17th with no cups runs past January if

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #2

    Mclaren had not been such a spectacular failure. No, I think we’re in the position we are now because Ashley realised he had a Blackburn on his hands or at best Middlesbourgh if he didn’t bring in someone who knew what they were doing.

  • cyprus

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #3

    See the scorers for JC’s OMONOIA were Sheridan and Derbyshire (2 goals). The latter’s career seems to have slid somewhat, always thought he was decent. He once scored a last minute goal against NUFC.

    The team remains 4th. JC will need to improve on that.

  • martoon

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #4

    Jail I think you disappeared last night but I just wanted to stress that I wasn’t having a pop at you last night but another poster and her lackeys!

  • BeeGuy

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #5

    Watching the extended highlights and having listened to the radio broadcast, I think Preston worked really hard to keep the score down. They did that, but had no real offensive organization. They just scrambled very hard but unable to see the open man, or the clear channel.

  • clinath@ed

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #6

    Jail…It’s not that the ‘setup’ wasn’t working, more that it was not sustainable….and, as we know, finally failed.
    With the increased revenues guaranteed with PL survival, a much more lucrative plan is now available.
    Though there are no assurances we would stay in the PL, with Rafa as manager surely MA thinks that is a ‘safer’ bet?

  • beermonkey

    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #7


    where are the extended highlights

  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #8

    On NUFCtv £40 pa – that’s 76p per week.
    Loads of vids and interviews – matchday commentary – get yer hand in yer pocket – you know it makes sense.

  • BandB

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #9

    Maybe you should have mentioned me by name then bold Martoon, and spared Jail the confusion 🙂

  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #10

    On Benitez and Ashley
    The two came together in March with their respective legal teams which they both realised was needed after their experiences.

    Ashley will not want another Allardyce , Keegan or McClaren encounter.

    Rafa after George Gillett/Tom Hicks , Aurelio de Laurentiis, and Florentino Perez will trust owners as far as he can throw them.

    The best basis for a good agreement is mutual distrust.

  • Jimmy……Jimmy……Jimmy Smith

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #11

    Ashley committed the money after Pardew left and Carver floundered. If anything Pardew did too good a job. It wasn’t till he left that Ashley got a dose of reality.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #12

    What a shame for club legend Kevin Keegan that everyone thought that the reclusive billionaire was a touch ecentric and wanted the best for the club. How different the next few years might have been if he’d realised what he was up against.
    No worries.

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #13

    First chance to post about the game! Rafas got some hard decisions to make on the striker.
    Mitro has 2 league goals against Preston. But the team missed Gayle (or at least someone with pace).
    Atsu terrified them in the cup but with Mitro, Gouff, Diame, Ritchie as our attacking 4 the in behind threat was gone and we were very lucky to get the win. Preston dealt with us well.
    For me you can’t play Mitro AND Gayle. The 4-2-3-1 system (which rafa has played his whole career and practically invented) is THE most important part of how we play. It allows Shelvey to get on the ball with 5-6 options in front of him which means we control the game as we have been doing. I like mitro. I like gayle. But the system is more important than any player if its successful.
    Gayle offers us an option in behind which forces teams to sit deep which creates space in the middle for us to dominate the play. Gayle also has a really good reading with Shelvey.
    Mitro is strong, good in the hair, enthusiastic, a cult player. Even when he plays we don’t play to his strengths though. Very few crosses go in as both wingers are inverted and cut inside (as is the course in rafas tactics) and any crosses are left to the fullbacks but if Anita plays he rarely crosses, he looks to play infield on the floor and dummett doesn’t venture forward enough.
    On Paper for me, its a no brainer Gayle starts but Mitro has 4 goals in a week and himself is a striker that is probably too good for this level. Youth on his side, in a few years I think Mitro can far surpass what Gayle offers, but in this system he is slightly limited.
    Personally I think Mitro is better suited for home games where we have the ball a lot, closer to the oppositions goal. We just missed Gayle on the counter attack on Saturday

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #14

    On the Ashley issue. If you look at his business record, he’s still treating us like brands he buys.
    His model is throw money at a struggling brand with a historic name, get it stable, then ignore it and reap the profits. Its less risk than trying to compete at the top of any industry and is a stable income of profits. A lot of people mistake Ashley for greedy, but in business he actually doesn’t push his brands to make huge profits, seems happy to own many brands and have them all make small profits. But then, if you look at it, that’s the basis the sports direct was founded on. Ashley gambled on taking minimum mark up profit on products but because of this his merch was so cheap it sells 5x more which replaces the lost mark up in volume sales. But when something starts to fail he does invest. He just never invests to push a brand past average and stable

  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #15


    I have heard rumours from two different sources that Rafa has been sniffing around his old club Napoli – one even went as far as to say that he fancies buying Lorenzo Insigne.

    I think if the rumours have any foundation the forward target is more likely to be Jose Callejon

  • bettyswallocks

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #16

    Jib….. I also heard the Insigne rumours . Maybe Rafa will try and sign a couple of world class players in Jan. to avoid the summer rat race.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #17


    Would love us to get Insigne !! Also he plays on the left hand side or in no 10 which is 2 of the positions that we need to upgrade !

    Not so sure on Callejon he looks far too much like Cabella same haircut and everything 🙂

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #18

    I don’t know how he got away with it for so long, in the end they literally had to announce that success wasn’t part of the plan, why they chose to publicly state that still baffles me, for years people thought that the logical thing to do would be to make us successeful as it would be better exposure for SD, people just couldn’t or wouldn’t see that you don’t need a successful team to sell Lonsdale or Dunlop. Hopefully Rafa has put a stop to this, we can only hope.

  • hibbit

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #19

    your mate Ian also heard the Insigne rumours
    what a coincidence absolutely remarkable

  • expatmag

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #20


    Rafa should already be preparing for the PL league next season with the squad he has available.

    The likes of Callejon and Insigne would be great signings but the guy I like is Mertens.

    Dont be surprised to see Rafa bring Torres for a season.

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #21

    @Jib – would have to be premier league targets tho? Both far too high a level to drop. Agree it’d probably be callejon though!
    One thing with Rafa, through his career, he started off in the Real Madrid B team managing. He knows the education and system of the Real Madrid youth team and knows it is world class. It really prepares players for a life in the game (usually away from Madrid). If a player comes through all age groups at Madrid, even if they don’t play for the first team, just Castilla it means more than they have ability, but that they have the right character and ambition. Everything about the Madrid youth sides is set up to be a winner and to be the best. Be no surprise at all if Rafa didn’t sign a few that started off there.
    Remember earlier in his career, Rafa used to take former Castilla player Mista everywhere he managed and he won him 2 titles at Valencia against a team that had Zidane, Figo etc he was really perfect for the system rafa played. When he left Valencia he couldn’t get near that level as he couldn’t adapt to play in other ways


    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #22

    I heard the Insigne rumours too it was in the papers last transfer window

  • Munster Mag

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #23

    Jay, interesting analysis of rafa there. I too have been saying since he arrived that his defensive use of 4231 can be a limiter for us. Id like to see us try 442 at home with both strikers on. Surely if rafa is the tactician we all make him out to be, he can try this more fully?

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #24

    Can’t see rafa buying Torres as he lacks the mobility really!
    I could see him signing Jese Rodriguez though! He’s not pulling up trees in Paris and has already said he values playing time over wages. Reckon he’ll be on the move come the summer.


    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #25

    Interesting posts mate and worrying in regards to Ashley he does follow a predictable trend doesn’t he


    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #26

    We are walking the league why would Rafa change his clearly working tactic?

  • clinath@ed

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #27

    Munster, Rafa will not change away from 4231, has has no need, it IS working and it’s his “goto” formation, as someone said earlier – he almost invented it.

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #28

    @Munster – I think the problem is Rafa operates from a basis of you can’t lose a game if you don’t concede a goal. I can’t see us ever playing 4-4-2 from the start. Rafa seems to put a side out to nullify opposition for 45 minutes whilst he works out how to beat them and then tweaks the tactics to win the game in the second half.
    Reckon we’re all barking up the wrong tree for 2 strikers. At every club he’s been at the fans have called for less pragmatism and he’s never caved. Pretty sure his Valencia team won the title with the fewest ever goals for a title winning side.
    Remember at Napoli though, in games his side was creating 30 chances a game and their fans called for 2 strikers as too much was put on the lone striker. He never went for it then.
    I think the best we can hope for is that he brings in a really good #10. He has form in doing certain things at every club. A fast mobile striker, a deep playmaker with passing range. The giant physical central defender. The inverted wingers. The only rafa signing we’ve got left to come for him to operate his system is a magical #10! At Valencia is was Pablo Aimar. At Liverpool it was Gerrard etc
    Would love a maradona esque latin player (a Beardsley if you will) to come in and light us up

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #29

    If anyone has the time, theres a couple of really insightful articles on Rafa at Valencia and Rafa at Extremadura/Tenerife, il post the links

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #30

    How rafa won the title at Valencia -

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #31

    rafa at Extremadura –

    Theres also one on the same site about his time at inter and why it went wrong!
    They’re long articles but well written and well sourced! good insight into our suprimo

  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #32

    Givvus 5 minutes Hibbit
    I’ll come back as Ian
    Have you noticed that I A N is quite close to J A N E as well

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #33

    Its frustrating isn’t it. We’ve scored a couple of sixes, two fours and a couple of threes but we haven’t managed a five yet 🙁

  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #34

    Actually J A N E is quite close to J A Y as well
    I wonder if I’m an internationally renowned photographer 😀

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #35

    Ha I’m pretty sure I’m not a double. I only post on Monday mornings on my office days really 🙂

  • Average_Contents

    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #36

    I don’t think snooping through bushes taking pervy pics counts as photography….

  • bettyswallocks

    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #37

    Hi Jib….. Ian here. I like Hibbitt, I have no taste but I like him. There’s no point trying to insult him as he won’t understand.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #38

    You can find loads of articles on his good or bad traits. A guy posting under the name The overrated Frenchman has an intense dislike of him and posted an article written by a disgruntled Napoli journalist. Im not sure if he dislikes him because of that article or he just used it as an example. He says his ammo is firing on blanks as he has us sitting top playing good football. It sounds to me like he’s wanting us to fail so he can slate the manager, I just dont get it. I remember Souness being in charge and nobody wanting him but then we were in a UEFA quarter and FA semi, and we thought hang on a minute we dont have to like him if he’s winning cups!!! The wheels quickly came off there mind and back to hating him.

  • toonincheek

    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #39

    jay –

    Fascinating insights.

  • jayphoto

    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #40

    @Jail – I think Rafa is marmite. You love him or hate him. My bro is a big Liverpool fan and he loves him.Think the thing is, rafa is a pure football man with a long term rigid plan. Doesn’t always make for good headlines with journos as he’s only interested in football. With fans, there are times where like munster commented earlier, we’ll want to see 4-4-2 or mitro play. Rafa (like a good manager shouldn’t) won’t bend to the will of others.
    I think in the past his coldness and aloofness hasn’t helped. He’s a football machine that runs on logic that sometimes forgets other professionals have emotions.
    I think this year though we have seen a rafa that learns from his previous mistakes. He seems to be doing more on the man management front that before.
    An interesting point my brother made was that if Rafa sees no value in a player, he ignores them. At most of his jobs he’s inherited players he doesn’t want but has been unable to move them on but because he sees no value in them he doesn’t bother with them. At Newcastle he’s had carte blanche to bring in who he wants and ship out who he wants. The only player we have that isn’t part of the side is Tiote so all players are happy with the rotation and rafas man management.
    Think the problems rafa has had before will be next year when he upgrades without emotion players (and he will, he has very little loyalty, only logic) and possibly players like Clark, Anita, Dummett, perhaps Ritchie who will have stormed this season and performed admirably will find there positions upgraded by higher level players despite having done nothing wrong. That’s where the discontent comes in


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