Rafa Seems To Have Solved Newcastle’s Big Problem

Rafa has 27 players in his first team squad this season and some of them, like Rob Elliot and Massadio Haidara, were not fit at the beginning of the season, but both players are back in full training now.

And of the 27 players Rafa said yesterday in his press conference that he has 26 fit players to choose from for the tough game at Elland Road tomorrow in front of just under 38,000 fans at a sold-out Elland Road.

The player not fit is Rolando Aarons who picked up his serious ACL knee injury on Wednesday, so at the beginning of the day all 27 first team players at Newcastle were fit.

When was the last time we could say that?


Rafa Benitez during a training session

A long long time ago.

Injuries were just one of the many problems Rafa has had to handle at Newcastle when he came in  and he seems to have fixed whatever was wrong.

In the summer, he did have new 4G pitches installed to replace the old and out of date 3G technology and he explained at the time the new pitches would support the players better during their training and help reduce injuries.

In addition, he updated the gymnasium with new and more modern equipment and also hired two new physiotherapists to help try to prevent injuries and then  to help in their rehabilitation once a player was injured.

But probably the major way he has  cut down on injuries are the procedures he uses before training and after training to ensure the players are warmed up enough and adequate stretching exercises are done to guard against injuries.

He would use all his experience of being in coaching for over 30 years to accomplish that and whatever he has done seems to have worked and he deserves great credit for it.

In order to guard against injures this season, we now have  a bigger squad than we’ve had for many seasons.

With 26 fit players – last year we often had 10 or more out injured – he has a problem of how to keep the players happy since they will get less playing time.

Eight fit players will not even make the 18 man squad for tomorrow’s game at Leeds.

There’s not been much written about the dramatic cutback in injuries this season – and it’s (even) more credit to Rafa Benitez and his expanded team.

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What do you think?

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • Spoof

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #1

    So who will get the striker nod for the Leeds game, the aggressive target man Mitro or the quick feet and toothless Gayle ( when I say toothless I do not mean that in a derogatory way lol ).

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #2

    Well I think the loyalty afforded Derek Wright must be questioned. If a manager loses enough he is sacked, physios surely should be judged according to their casualty record. Wright has been here for an age, since at least the early 90s and we’ve had terrible injury records for just as long.

    Players have become regarded as elite athletes and sports science evolved a lot since his arrival, maybe he didn’t move with the times.

    Either way, the steps taken have definitely improved the sitaution, in my opinion the new faces in the physio department and Rafa’s caution with players fitness are the main reasons.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #3
  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #4


    Can see us going with Mitro. In form, if the game goes ahead it will likely be rough conditions and Gayle rumours being true, maybe he could do with some time out – to recover and perhaps as a reminder that he hasn’t achieved anything yet.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #5

    Is the match being televised tomorrow anyone?

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #6

    Sky Sports 1

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #7

    beIN Sports 2 Australia/New Zealand
    beIN Sports 4
    beIN Sports 11
    DAZN (Germany)
    Diema +HD
    Digi Sport 1 (Cz/Svk) +HD
    Eleven HD (Belgium)
    Eleven Sports Singapore
    Eurosport Norway
    Eurosport 2 Russia
    Fox Sports 2 Africa
    LeTV (China)
    Sportdigital TV
    SportKlub 1 (Serbia) +HD
    SportsMax 2 (West Indies)
    SuperSport 5 Africa
    TEN1 (India)
    Viasat Sport Premium (Sweden)
    Viasat Urheilu (Finland) HD

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #8

    Cheers Jib

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #9

    “Norwich have got off to a dreadful start at QPR – it’s goalless but Martin Olsson was sent-off in the first minute for handball on the line!”

  • jane

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #10

    Norwich losing 2-0

  • jane

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:32 PM

    Comment #11

    QPR have a new manager who does well in this league.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #12

    Classic moment just on SSN. Jeff Stelling announces that Alan Pardew is determined to carry on playing attacking football as they have done all season. Over to Chris Kamara, “Chris are Palace playing on the front foot as Alan Pardew says they will?” Kamara….. No not at all Jeff they’re just defending . Made me chuckle anyway.

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #13

    Sunlun beating Hull !
    Has a corner been turned ?

  • AncientC

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #14

    Can you imagine the uproar if it was Mitrovic involved in that altercation instead of Gayle.

    Adam Armstrong is due back at the club in January, we may need Armstrong if Gayle has been negatively effected. I think it is time for Armstrong to start fighting for his first team place anyway. The point of getting Armstrong out on loan is to get him into form, he seems to be in form, so why risk loaning him out again where he could lose form in a different set up.

  • jane

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #15

    no it’s Hull

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #16

    Norwich and Huddersfield losing. Reading now becoming more prominent than both.

    Think that’s the difference. We might lose the odd game, but there’s no way we’ll go 3+ matches without a win like both of them.

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #17

    Huddersfield’s bubble well and truly burst – losing 3-1 to Cardiff

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #18

    Looks like Reading will be 3rd this teatime.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #19

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  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 19, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #20

    Bradley’s first signing for Swansea.

  • AncientC

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #21

    I am voting for Asprilla, if there are more changes to be made to the banner.

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #22

    Wals 30 Japan 30

    Ha ha ha

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #23

    Wales even

  • martoon

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #24

    Only the makems could have a ground called the Stadium of Light where they don’t work and it’s dark 😀

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #25

    “The lights have not fully come back on at the Stadium of…LIGHT!

    “Referee Lee Mason has taken the players off the pitch.”

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #26

    Sweaty Betty hasn’t quite grasped this copy and paste stuff.

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #27

    Palace equalising against Man City.

    Pardews Magic rubbing off on the players.


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