Rafa Benitez was not happy after the first defeat in 11 games on Saturday and after nine successive wins, when Newcastle went down 1-0 at home to Blackburn.
Rafa was not happy in the first half that some of his players had expected an easy game and he had talked at the break about dealing with the high balls into the box and not making any mistakes at the back.
But that’s exactly what happened late in the game when Blackburn got their winner – and we went down to a shocking defeat at the hands of the 3rd bottom side.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez
We expect the missing players on Saturday such as Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles, Jack Colback and Dwight Gayle to return to the side for the 5th round League Cup tie at Hull City on Tuesday night.
We’ve never seen Rafa quite so upset after the game as he was on Saturday.
This is what Rafa said:
“I think in the first half some of the players maybe were expecting an easy game and were surprised, but it wasn’t and we knew that.”
“But then after, once you’ve gone in at half-time, then you are fixing things and in the first 15 minutes of the second half we were creating chances and we were on top of them.”
“Also we were talking about not making mistakes, because they will look for set-pieces, for long balls and second balls and see what happens.”
“In the end, that’s what happens, so we were talking about that and we have to be careful with that, but we got it wrong.”
“Obviously, if you change players then people will say ‘oh, you are just thinking about the cup’,”
“No, I was thinking about winning against Blackburn and then to approach the other one with the same mentality.”
“We had been changing players and we were doing the same. “We didn’t show the character and quality we normally show though.”
“We have to learn and quickly change things and be ready for the next game.” “It is an opportunity to get into the next round.”
“We were thinking that for this game maybe Mitro could be a good option with Ayoze Perez in behind, Christian Atsu in the wide areas along with Matt Ritchie and Mbemba at centre-back.”
“It’s not that you are preserving some players because of the Hull game, it’s just that we thought these players could win this game.”
The players who came into the side after the good win at Elland Road such as Chancel Mbemba, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Christian Atsu to name but three, did not play well on Saturday.
As Rafa has said – too many of our players didn’t show the necessary character and quality and it was an unexpected poor performance, not unlike our last defeat to Wolves.
With a below par performance like this Rafa usually makes big changes – so it will be interesting to see what his starting eleven will be for the important Hull City game.
Then we play at Nottingham Forest on Friday evening and hopefully can get back out winning ways.