Rafa – I Have To Say Thanks To Every Player

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez was very happy with the overall performance of the team today at Eland Road, in what was expected to be a very tough game for the Magpies.

Newcastle started off well in the first 20 minutes and were then gifted a goal by goalkeeper Robert Green, when he dropped a high lob into the box by Jack Colback and Newcastle’s number 9 Dwight Gayle was on hand  to take what was an absolutely gift of a goal.

Leeds United came back into the game after that and pressed Newcastle, but then a beautifully worked goal after the break by Newcastle saw a great cross from Vurnon Anita turned home by Gayle on 54 minutes.


Dwight Gayle hits home the first goal

That made it another Newcastle win – the 9th in a row and the 8th successive win in the league.

That’s only the second time that has happened in Newcastle’s long history, with Kevin Keegan  achieving that 22 years ago.

Newcastle controlled this game well for the most part and we can see improvements in the team as the lads play together more often – and some of Rafa’s points in training get through.

Rafa was very happy with the performance after the game and this is what he had to say to BBC Newcastle:

“I have to say thanks to every player, we could see a performance today against a good team – we saw the effort, the mentality was good and the understanding of the game was very good.”

“The atmosphere we were talking about was intimidating, but we controlled ourselves.”  “We knew what they could do, but the players applied themselves and it’s a credit to them.”

“Everything we tried to do we did well, set-pieces, control of the game and counter-attack.”

“There is room for improvement, but I can’t complain because we did very well.”

That’s about as complimentary as Rafa can get.


Here’s the positions at the top of the Championship after this weekend’s games.

4Sheffield Wednesday461581

And Dwight’s two goals take him to 13 for the season – the most in the Championship.

Dwight Gayle23023
Mat Ritchie12416
Ayoze Perez8412
Yoan Gouffran527
Aleksandar Mitrovic426
Mo Diame336
Daryl Murphy516
Jonjo Shelvey505
Christian Atsu505
Ciaran Clark213
Jamaal Lascelles303
Isaac Hayden202
Grant Hanley101
Chancel Mbemba101
DeAndre Yedlin101

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19 comments so far

  • lesh

    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #1

    Having only seen short highlights, but Colback’s opportunist punt at goal showed just how useful he is. It seemed as though he’d seen Green well off his line, took a good long-distant shot and there was Gayle to jump on the rebound.

    For all Leeds are saying they didn’t play as well as they should, this win’ll give the lads a massive psychological boost. Don’t be surprised if they go on to be unbeaten for the rest of our Championship games.

    Anyone know if our beloved owner (that’s Mike Ashley for those who might’ve forgotten) has attended any games yet?

    If he hasn’t, he may judge it a little early but I’d hope that he turns up at SJP to enjoy seeing the lads pick up the Championship trophy. And, I’d like to think that fans would at least give him the courtesy of giving him a courteous welcome – at the very least.

  • Vask

    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #2

    Yeah thanks players. Keep it up.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:28 PM

    Comment #3

    From what I heard on TV the Toon fans were as noisy as the Leeds fans if not more so.

    Anyone who was at the match confirm that.?

    And as one of the commentators said we are used to playing in much bigger crowds than that.

    Sorry Rafa (all hail him) but Intimidating I don’t think so.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:02 AM

    Comment #4

    Lesh…… Why bring Ashley into this? What’s he ever done for us? Why would we want him at SJP. Why would he be made welcome? Are you a closet Ashley lover?

    Seriously though, he must surely be able to see that life is better all round when the team is winning with potential to continue the progress. No more third rate managers for the foreseeable future.

  • lesh

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #5


    No, I am not an Ashley lover whether closet or otherwise. He’s presided over a torrid time for our club and has been shown as one who’ll bleed every last penny from his employees.

    The point I was trying to make is that whilst not expecting him to be greeted with a rapturous welcome at SJP, I’d hope that fans’d give him a courteous welcome – even if it’s silence and apparent indifference to his presence. Any hostility might just provoke a negative reaction from him. We know how petulant and impulsive he can be.

    Let’s not forget that if we’re promoted, nay when, there’ll be plenty of suitors looking at us as a good investment.

  • lesh

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:23 AM

    Comment #6


    Elland Road is an arena that can be scary for players used to small attendances. But, our lads can cope with that – maybe excepting the likes of Old Trafford which dwarf SJP.

    Rafa’s instilled both belief and confidence into all connected with the Club and I’m sure we’ll all agree that by giving him a relatively free rein over footballing matters, Ashley’s seeing at first hand that the model he had in mind for us was wrong, very very wrong. Will he acknowledge his mistake? I doubt it but let’s all enjoy things while we can and look forward to a successful future.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:24 AM

    Comment #7

    Lesh……… Whilst he’s taking a back seat although I’m not advocating forgive and forget I think we should let sleeping dogs lie.

    There is going to be more and more investment into the PL and in the not too distant future there will be new global leagues springing up to incorporate the Chinese and maybe the sceptics as the NFL is on the wane with soccer as they (and Jib) call it becoming more popular.

    The advertising and PR exposure will be enormous and Ashley will be aware and want a slice of the action. I honestly can’t see him selling up anytime soon.

  • lesh

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:28 AM

    Comment #8


    My response to your question showed how I hadn’t spotted that your tongue was firmly in your cheek when you penned the first paragraph.

    As an aside, posting these days is like walking on eggshells at times . A shame really……

  • lesh

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:31 AM

    Comment #9


    Yup, letting sleeping dogs lie (a courteous silence from fans if he rocks up at SJP?) is the best way forward.

  • expatmag

    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:54 AM

    Comment #10

    Watched the game here in Oz and this was my assessment

    Darlow…8….a couple of crucial saves and reasonably good in the air

    Anita…7….overlapped a lot and defended well. Great assist for the second goal.

    Lascelles….9…MOM for me. He was imperious at the back, winning most things in the air and a couple of great blocks.

    Clark…7….worked hard to counter a tricky opponent in Wood.

    Dummett….6….looked lethargic to me and gave the ball away too much. Was caught in possession a couple of time leading to dangerous breaks.

    Shelvey….7….had lots of the ball but created little. More of a battling performance.

    Colback….8….worked his socks off in front of the defence and played some useful short passes in and around the edge of their box.

    Ritchie….6….very little scope to create much and spent much of the game tracking back on Taylor. Worked hard though.

    Gouffran….6….ditto Ritchie against Aylie on the other side.

    Perez…..5……very disappointing display. Got caught in possession too often and tended to run down blind alleys. Created little of any note.

    Gayle…..9…..just shaded for MOM by Lascelles. Both goals were typical opportunist strikes. This guy is going to get 30 goals this season. Pardew….what were you thinking of selling him????????

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:17 AM

    Comment #11

    Another great win today. The passing on the second goal was so pleasing to see. The whole structure of the side in zonal areas is also a breath of fresh air compared to previous years.

    Another clean sheet as well.

    Away from home against a team in good form, great stuff.

  • Jimmy……Jimmy……Jimmy Smith

    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    Comment #12

    Harsh on Ritchie, Gouffran and Perez Expat. All three worked their socks off. Perez released Anita beautifully for the second

  • expatmag

    Nov 21, 2016 at 4:58 AM

    Comment #13


    Perhaps….but I am used to seeing them all have more of an influence on games whereas yesterday was one of those days where workrate was probably more important than creative abilities

  • expatmag

    Nov 21, 2016 at 4:58 AM

    Comment #14

    Jimmy….sorry for the mispell

  • cyprus

    Nov 21, 2016 at 5:18 AM

    Comment #15

    A bit stingy in giving out points but I get you. This was a solid, professional display rather than a sparkling one.

    General comments:
    *Glad to see my team on tv, a rare treat these days. Not sure I get the Hull outfit.
    *The biggest winner here was Rafa. He has made a machine out of a team that was all parts and disjointed.
    *Gayle will probably rightly win MOM, two goal is two goals. But, I gave it to Colback, he dominated in his position. Darlow was solid, as were many other players. In fact, we were in so little danger because everyone worked their socks off. Everyone was pressing, lots of running off the ball. We didn’t used to do that. Lots of options for passes too. We didn’t used to do that either!
    *On criticism, it’s a bit unfair to be harsh on any player. Clean sheet, we made it look easy. Yes, Perez surprisingly lost the ball many times, but he never hid. Had many many touhes, most of them ok.
    *Solid games aren’t exciting but I’ll take them to get out of this division. All of them had a ‘solid’ game, and Perez was part of that.

  • Jimmy……Jimmy……Jimmy Smith

    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:16 AM

    Comment #16

    I thought Perez played well, and has done most often. He’s no Juan Mata, yet, but like Mata, he’s playing in the toughest position on the park and being asked to run between the lines, link play, play others in, score goals and press, all in a part of the pitch that is the most compressed, and more often than not receiving the ball with his back to goal and a defender fair up his clacker. I think he’s showing he is worth his place and is becoming more influential as the season progresses.

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:25 AM

    Comment #17

    Just did a little counting, and my numbers show the following, if we maintain our current points to games ratio.
    We currently have 40pts after 17 played, which equates to a pleasing 2.35pts per game. 2.35pts per game over a 46 game season give a whopping 108pts, smashing Readings 2006/6 record of 106pts!
    Let’s hope we can maintain this kind of form 😉

  • Jib

    Nov 21, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #18

    Ella Guru


    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I guess

    Jib // Nov 19, 2016 at 8:22 PM

    We have averaged 2.3 points a game thus far.
    If we maintain that for the remaining 30 games we will achieve 106 points.
    Burnley were champions last season with 93 points

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #19

    Apologies Jib! You got there before me.


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