Benitez Blasts Players – We Didn’t Show Enough Character And Quality

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.

5 comments so far

  • Blofal

    Nov 28, 2016 at 12:01 AM

    Comment #1

    Rafa expects players in the squad who aren’t regular starters to step up when given the chance. They have to be careful because if they don’t then they might not get another. Interesting stat is that we haven’t lost a game when Gouffran has played. Players like Atsu, Perez and Mbemba might not be seen for the next few games. We even might see Murphy ahead of Mitro for a game just to send a message. It seems clear our best 11 is Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clarke, Dummett, Colback, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gouffran and Gayle. Our weakness being neither Diame or Perez being consistent un the number 10 role and I expect that to be rectified in January. Though in our pursuit of Alan Judge it appears that was known before the season started.

  • TyneMouth

    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:32 AM

    Comment #2

    You have only ten players!
    At least Rafa managed to chose (the wrong) eleven…

  • Blofal

    Nov 28, 2016 at 2:45 AM

    Comment #3

    TyneMouth I know I only had 10. That’s because neither Diame or Perez are consistent enough to be in our best 11 at the moment.

  • Mag52

    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:32 AM

    Comment #4

    Rafa’s right that we have made changes throughout the season with success, but I think I’m right in saying that we haven’t made the number of changes that we made on Saturday.
    One or two from the squad can be introduced into a winning team without disrupting the momentum. I really feel that 6 changes did disrupt that coherence we had developed and caused the loss.
    But what do I know ?

  • Bambams

    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    Comment #5

    On a side issue I wonder if Pards does get the sack and Big Sam (if you believe the press) does come in, you have to believe he could get something out of the CP players.
    I can’t see at this moment any of Swansea Hull or CP pulling away.
    West Ham I think will Borough should get enough points, Leicester are baffling me but it is so close down there a few mackem wins and they could get out .
    Big Sam could be the man to pull 4th bottom clear leaving the 3 at the bottom adrift….
    How would the mackems feel then ?


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