Benitez Explains How And Why His Game Plan Was So Effective

When asked after the 2-1 win at Brighton last Tuesday night whether it would be the same again at  Huddersfield on Saturday, Rafa hesitated and then said it would be a different kind of game because Huddersfield like to hold onto the ball a lot and would have lots of possession.

Rafa was right about that and Newcastle ceded possession to them on Saturday, but when we got the ball we counter attached quickly and effectively.

So much so that we were comfortably ahead 2-0 at half time without having too much of the ball.

Rafa Benitez waves to the fans after massive win on Saturday

Rafa played big Daryl Murphy up front because he wanted to attack quickly and get the ball upfield to a good target man.

This is some of what Rafa said after the game on Saturday and he said Huddersfield’s possession never concerned him:

“We knew Huddersfield would be a team who had possession – we didn’t care about that.”

“We had to be a threat when we got forward, with Murphy running behind and getting the second balls.”

“The plan worked well and we have had a lot of possession in a lot of games.”

“Our average is 55% possession, so we do have the ball in games.”

“We knew Huddersfield would have it so I wanted to try to do different things, like getting in behind the big center-backs.”

“We played with Murphy instead of Gayle so we had to make sure we won the second-balls.”

Rafa’s plan simply worked like a charm and it would be a good learning game for coaches on how to play against a team who likes to have possession a  lot in games.

Barcelona and Manchester City are two teams who do that a lot and maybe if we played Manchester City we will use the same tactics we used on Saturday.

Hopefully that will happen next season when we are back int he Premier League.

It’s looking good at the moment but we cannot assume anything and must keep winning our games.

Rafa is almost bound to say those words at today’s press conference for the game tomorrow night at Reading.

And after the game on Saturday he was a study in calmness and coolness and simply refused to get carried away by those interviewing him.

But he did say he was happy with the win.


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5 comments so far

  • martoon

    Mar 6, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #1

    Has anybody heard about Mitrovic – was he injured or simply dropped from the squad?

  • sparky55

    Mar 6, 2017 at 7:50 AM

    Comment #2

    sadly Mitro hasn’t made the grade for the championship team, never mind the premiership team for next year…but he’s not alone there as I’m still not convinced there’s any more than 3 players who will sit comfortably in the premiership.

    All I hope for is a similar scenario to that of Leicester (not winning the league of course because that’s just pie in the sky stuff) but in the way Leicester went up with a bunch of nobody’s who were also very much together and Pearson got them playing to a higher level than the sum of the parts once they hit the premiership without any investment whatsoever.

    If Rafa buys even 4 or 5 players in the summer (which is a minimum of what we need to really compete) then the dressing room and togetherness will wrecked and I think will be counter-productive

    Rafa therefore has to coach every ounce of ability out of the current crop of players and build over time…which of course won’t go down well with most of the fans and Ashley will be made to look the villain again by being accused of not investing enough to make us competitive.

    I don’t see much more than 35 million nett being spent in summer when we go up with near 20 being spent on a striker and 10-12 on a centre half and around 20 on a good number 10. That means we will of course be selling and the first to go will probably be Mitro…closely followed by Perez who I think will flourish back in Spain….sadly.

  • firebug666

    Mar 6, 2017 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #3

    Where I live there are a lot of Makems, it’s quite fun, I even share an alottment with a Makem, They are decent enough people it’s just football where to grasp reality.

    It’s very true that the all seem to be obsessed with NUFC, and cling tightly to their recent passed against us, something of a comfort blanket for them.

    It tends to give the impression that inside every stalwart Makem their is a Magpie trying to break out. I say this as of late a couple of these Makems have taken to watching every NUFC game they can, (they say they want to watch us fail) the reality is, it’s never going to happen. 😀

  • martoon

    Mar 6, 2017 at 8:14 AM

    Comment #4

    I have to say I’m with EGB – I obviously want us to be the top team in the North East but it’s good to have at least one other North East team in the top flight with us for the rivalry and the derbies. I always thought the makems would go down this year (and you really can’t see them pulling off a miracle escape this year) but I thought the Boro would be OK. – sadly it looks like we are going to pass them on the way up.

  • Mag52

    Mar 6, 2017 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #5


    Just as Rafa brought in a number of players this season, and has managed to get them playing together as a cohesive unit, so too he will need to bring in some new faces if we are to have any sort of success, should we be promoted to thePL. I’m sure the present squad are realistic enough to see this.
    For me, I can see the need to get a minimum of five new players.


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