In the first 21 games of this season we either won or lost games – that was until we drew 1-1 at Aston Villa and they equalized in the last minute of that game at Villa Park.
However in the last eight games we have three draws and five wins, so if we cannot win games at least we are picking up a point although against QPR they again equalized through an own goal in the last minute of that game at St. James’ Park.
But in the draws at Norwich and at home to Bristol City we came back in the second half after being behind at half time – so that was good.
Rafa Benitez – thinks team is maturing
That shows our lads can fight back and come from behind – something that was completely foreign to us under Steve McClaren last season.
When we went behind not only did we not bother coming back, we often gave up the ghost.
Rafa Benitez believes his players are maturing and he’s pleased we can now pick up draws rather than just suffering defeats when we cannot win.
We have seven defeats in thew league this season and if we had shown more maturity in the earlier part of the season we wouldn’t have lost so many games.
This is what Rafa has said today as reported in the Chronicle:
“They could be maturing, yes.” “Earlier this season I was more complaining about how we were not able to draw games, not just we were drawing and then conceding.”
“It’s not just about reacting when you go behind, it’s about keeping the score when you are in the lead.” “I think that we are learning and that, little by little, we are getting this experience.”
“It’s important to have a good run not losing games.”
“Sometimes that’s just for the confidence, even if you lose two points, but for the confidence it can make a big difference if you draw.”
“Even if you are playing well and losing, then this kind of situation can be quite bad.”
“But now we have more experience, we are more mature and we can manage better the end of the games.”
“Norwich was the example, where we had to react and do well in the second half.”
“At half-time of the Bristol City game, the message was: ‘Have confidence in ourselves, we are doing well.’”
“Normally you should carry on trying to do the right things; don’t play with anxiety.”
“Still it is something we need to manage better, but we are reacting well in more games now than we were before.”
The good news is that we have won a lot of games – 23 in 34 game sin the Championship – a 68% win rate.
If we can make that 24 today at John Smith’s Stadium against the Terriers we will be flying.
But we would then have to win at Reading on Tuesday night too.
Howay The Lads!!