Rafa Benitez and his players know the shock defeat on Monday night was not the best Christmas present to give to the Newcastle fans – who again turned out in force at a sold-out St. James’ Park.
And our home form is now a concern for the Newcastle manager, who talked about that a lot yesterday during his interviews leading up to the game at home tonight against Nottingham Forest.
Rafa Benitez on the sidelines
Certainly the players would like to put things right and get back on the winning track tonight, since there seems little room for error in the Championship with a number of sides on decent winning runs at the moment.
What’s happening at home is if we don’t score early on to relieve the tension, then anxiety builds up in the crowd and that’s not helpful to the team and the anxiety is transmitted to the players.
It’s almost like creating a problem that isn’t there – since we are doing really well near the top of the table.
Rafa talked about it yesterday and admits the team wants to give more to the fans:
“I’d like to have the same form at home as we do away, because you want to give your fans something more.”
“Obviously, it’s different between playing at home and away. Away, the other team have to attack you, you have more space, at home you have to take more responsibility and we have to manage things better.
“If you don’t score early in games you have more anxiety and we have to cope with that. You can’t create a problem when the team is doing well.”
“You have a problem if you’re struggling to avoid relegation, but if you’re at the top you have to have confidence in what you’re doing.”
Those are good words from Rafa on the current situation at home.
Most fans think we can win the game tonight – that would be really good and would definitely lift the mood of the fans.