Rafa’s Brilliance – Explains His Substitutions At Norwich

One of the things Rafa Benitez is very good at on the touch-line is reading exactly what is going on in a game – and because of that he is usually spot on when he makes substations.

He doesn’t get much credit for that but it’s one reason we have won so many games this season.

That was evident at Norwich on Tuesday night as Rafa made changes when we were 2-1 down and Newcastle were going after the equalizer and then after that in the final 10 minutes or so when it was 2-2 we were going after the winner.

Rafa Benitez in the dugout on Tuesday night

Rafa wants to win every single game and he shows that in the way he makes his substitutions and he has that winning mentality instilled in his players.

A win is what we need in every single game.

Even I get that now.


Rafa has explained his substitutions and why he made them at Norwich as reported in the Chronicle:

“The substitutions weren’t easy.”

“With Jack Colback it was because I wanted to have a more offensive mentality and more legs, more creativity.”

“But he was doing well too.” With Ritchie it was because Atsu can go past players.”

“It wasn’t because they were doing bad, it was because we needed to change something.”

One of the things we are getting from Rafa’s team this season is all out commitment and the game ain’t over till it’s over – as former Yankees catcher YOgi Berra would say.

If we are not winning, the team goes all out to win the game, but of course there’s always the other side of things when we are only one goal up, which happens in too many games –  and there’s always a possibility that the opposition can get a late equalizer.

In the main though we haven’t given up too many points late in games as the 21 wins in 31 league games would indicate.

More wins – probably 10 in the last 15 games will see us promoted this season.

Comment welcome.

10 comments so far

  • Tsunki

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #1

    Previous re: Darlow

    You learn your most enduring lessons from the mistakes you make. It’s not repeating them that makes the experience cheap, no matter how much it cost at the time. Darlow is a good keeper, extremely agile and with good instinctive reactions. His distribution is improving and he looks to play from the back wherever humanly possible. This last feature has given us huge possession time and less defensive pressure than when Elliot and Krul were in goal. Both good keepers but their distribution by long ball always resulted in a 70/30 against us keeping possession and in my view this alone would make our goals against higher in a campaign.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:06 AM

    Comment #2

    “With Jack Colback it was because I wanted to have a more offensive mentality and more legs, more creativity.”

    Just so you know it’s not Colback – bashing, Rafa there explains exactly why he DOES play Colback.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:08 AM

    Comment #3

    Bored with Gayle, meddling with the best defence in the league, top with most goals, most wins and best GD in tge country, lets change the system and play two up top. Yes, thank gawd we’ve got a UEFA elite manager in charge and not a referdum decided by people on here.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:16 AM

    Comment #4


  • Tsunki

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    Comment #5

    Jail – not sure which I prefer – the nuthouse doors being flung wide open last night or the “It’s not broke let’s fix it” fiddlers ha ha.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #6

    I laughed out loud as I do every time when I see that “bored with Gayle” thing . Cracking lol


    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:26 AM

    Comment #7

    Saw someone say they’d want Elliott in ahead of Darlow for experience, did u know that Elliott has played 22 more games at senior level….15 if u include intentional level. He also spent most of his career at a lower level than Championship

    Hes older but doesnt mean he has more experience


    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:27 AM

    Comment #8

    Plus Darlow doesn’t deserve to be dropped and he wont be

  • Jib

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #9
  • Munster Mag

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #10

    So Jail, all the guys who wanted rafa to try 442 , at home, when we had no shelvey, fit wingers and forwards – AT HOME – are not entitled to their analysis and critique? Myself and others felt Rafa was being inflexible on these occasions because of his devotion to 4231. Thats all. Muppet.


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