Rafa Reflects On His First Year At Newcastle


It will be Rafa’s one year anniversary at Newcastle on Saturday – March 11th –  when we face Fulham at home and we need to get some revenge for the way we were beaten in that very first game at Craven Cottage.

We did get some revenge in the last game at Huddersfield when we won 3-1 after losing 2-1 in our second game of the season at St. James’ Park.

Rafa’s achieved an awful lot since then and whatever happens tonight at Reading we will be top of the league when we kick off against Fulham on Saturday afternoon at St. James’ Park in front of another sold-out home crowd.

Rafa Benitez arriving at Newcastle on Friday 11th March last year
The miracle was going to happen – he signed on as manager


Newcastle’s challenge in that game is to show we can also play well and win at home against decent opposition.

It’s a very busy schedule at the moment and obviously Rafa doesn’t get much time to look back on things very much – he tends to  look forward.

But the manager was asked if he had time to look back over the last year and this is he how he responded – as reported in the Chronicle:

“Yes I’ve looked back a bit, but you don’t have too much time. “When you play two games in a week, you have to prepare the next game.”

“You finish one, and then, without time, you have to see the clips, see the reports and then start preparing the tactics, so you don’t have too much time to reflect on the whole year.”

“Obviously, we have been thinking about what we have done, what we could do a little bit better and what we would like to do in the future.”

“Reading will play in the same way they have all season.” “They will try to keep the ball and play in a high tempo. We will try to manage that in the way we did in the first game this season.”

“As a manager, it always depends on your players. You can have an idea about how to play, but they make the difference.”

“They did really well. The work rate of the players against Huddersfield was fantastic. You can see the response from the players.”

“Hopefully we can win at Reading, and then we will see what happens.”

“One at a time.”

What would obviously make Rafa very happy by 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon is that we win tonight at reading and then beat Fulham on Saturday.

It would also make the fans delirious.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Reading?

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36 comments so far

  • barkel

    Mar 7, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #1

    Ciaran Clark
    Paul Dummett
    Jack Colback
    Grant Hanley
    Jamaal Lascelles
    Achraf Lazaar
    Vurnon Anita
    Dwight Gayle
    Matt Ritchie
    Jonjo Shelvey
    Isaac Hayden
    Mohamed Diame
    Rolando Aarons
    Ayoze Perez
    Chancel Mbemba
    Massadio Haidara
    Yoan Gouffran
    Rob Elliot
    DeAndre Yedlin
    Karl Darlow
    Jesus Gamez
    Matz Sels
    Christian Atsu
    Daryl Murphy
    Sammy Ameobi
    Dan Barlaser
    Yasin Ben El-Mhanni
    Stuart Findlay
    Curtis Good
    Jamie Sterry
    Aleksandar Mitrovic
    Tim Krul
    Siem De Jong
    Henri Saivet
    Emmanuel Riviere
    Adam Armstrong
    Freddie Woodman
    Kevin Mbabu
    Florian Thauvin

    There’s the list of players used in the first team or loaned out this season. A lot of these will have to go if/when we go up. PL squad rules mean we can have a max of 25 players over 21 years old

    0
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Mar 7, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #2

    @AncientC

    Yeah have watched Bournemouth a fair bit and Arter would be a great signing for us him and Shelvey together with say Sigurdsson would be awesome!

    0
  • Tsunki

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #3

    So. Jail. Who from barkels list do we need to lose in order to stay in the pl next season?

    0
  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #4

    barkel

    Where are the other 11 players to make 50?

    0
  • Tsunki

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #5

    Lindy 😀

    0
  • Wayayman

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #6

    So Shtaaaaam reckons Rafa has 50 players in the squad? There’s 39, with 8 being loaned out and 5 being recent academy lads. 26 Jaap, 26.

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #7

    barkel
    Think theres more players I’d lose than keep there

    0
  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #8

    Jail for Ashley

    If, next season in the PL, you mention playing too defensively, sitting back and letting teams come on to us, or not getting out / up the field enough. Or the big “we rely on individuals to score”. Look out for the tonne of bricks I will be hoisting above you.

    Your card is marked!!

    0
  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #9

    Tsu

    0
  • jimmysmith

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #10

    Ciaran Clark
    Paul Dummett
    Jack Colback
    Grant Hanley
    Jamaal Lascelles
    Achraf Lazaar
    Vurnon Anita
    Dwight Gayle
    Matt Ritchie
    Jonjo Shelvey
    Isaac Hayden
    Rolando Aarons
    Ayoze Perez
    Chancel Mbemba
    DeAndre Yedlin
    Karl Darlow
    Jesus Gamez
    Christian Atsu
    Aleksandar Mitrovic
    Tim Krul
    Freddie Woodman
    Centre Forward
    Winger
    Attacking Mid
    Central Mid

    With four genuine quality additions, that’s a decent core of 25 players for Benitez work with and to take into the new season. If we could also add a quality left back and centre back all the better, but I think that would essentially be a competitive epl group.

    0
  • clinath@ed

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #11

    We will try to manage that in the way we did in the first game this season.”

    I hope we do a better job that we did on the first game of the season Rafa. 😉

    0
  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #12

    Could do with seeing more of Mbemba (possibly at DM), Hanley, Aarons, Good, and Lazaar. Mitrovic needs game time to raise a good price. The youngsters that played in the Cup need more time to improve. There are about 12 players currently playing that should continue next season. The players returning from loan will also need assessing.

    0
  • hibbit

    Mar 7, 2017 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #13

    Lindisfarne
    i think Rafa might have already made his mind up about Mbemba and Mitrovic

    0
  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #14

    My Rafa Bingo shout.

    Darlow
    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Dummett
    Shelvey Colback
    Ritchie Perez Atsu
    Murphy

    Anita played poor at Huddersfield hence going for Yedlin. Clearly Anita is a Rafa favourite but last game he was poor. Winger had his measure all the game. Never got tight allowing the winger to just move the ball a yard to allow him to get a cross in – happened all the game.
    Leaving the wing bare at times for a more central position????. Abandoned the CF on the edge of the box just before Shelvey gave away the pen.

    I think the”machine” rolls on and predict another 3 -1 win to the Toon.

    0
  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #15

    I think Mitro has probably had it as well. Has not really made the most of his chances. Missed some sitters – at this level he should be getting a few but isn’t. Shame as I like the lad – but it is a results business and we cannot really afford to wait to see if he transforms himself.

    Cannot see Perez being sold – think he is a Rafa favourite as well.

    0
  • JamesToon

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #16

    Looking at barkels list

    Players who definitely need moving on in the summer:
    Mats Selz
    Curtis Good
    Massadio Haidara
    Haris Vuckic
    Henri Saivet
    Siem de Jong
    Yoan Gouffran
    Sammy Ameobi
    Emmanuel Riviere
    Daryl Murphy

    Then we have players who Rafa will need to consider their future’s, taking into account, are they good enough for the prem? can/should we upgrade (obviously being mindful we dont want to disturb the core of players who really gave it all for us and worked for us to be promoted)
    Tim Krul
    Jesus Gamez
    Vurnon Anita
    Grant Hanley
    Paul Dummett
    Achraf Lazaar
    Jack Colback
    Ayoze Perez
    Mohamed Diame
    Aleksandar Mitrovic

    We’ll also need to decide what to do with armstrong as well

    0
  • JamesToon

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #17

    Mitro, Perez, Lazaar and Mbemba are the 4 who may be a lot better if/when we’re in the prem, but do we take that risk?

    0
  • JamesToon

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #18

    Cant imagine Lazaar and Mbemba being happy with the lack of game time they’re getting, they’ll either want out or will want assurances about next season

    0
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #19

    I ganna a be an interesting summa
    wi ya bugga man!!!
    Cannot believe RAFA has been here a year

    0
  • martoon

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #20

    Tuff – I agree with you about Anita, I thought he had a poor game against Huddersfield. I guess you could argue it was his first game back after injury but some of the things you mention are basics of defending.
    Does anybody else get infuriated by Diame? He wins the ball well but then tries to barge his way past several opposition players and always loses possession – I lost count of the number of times he did it last Saturday.

    0
  • JamesToon

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #21

    Chronicle and Read newcastle’s shortlist of our transfer targets and players that have been scouted for the summer: (Some added from chronicle’s as well)

    Michael Keane
    Bjorn Engels
    Charlie Taylor
    Wilfred N’Didi
    James McCarthy
    Leander Dondoncker
    Ignacio Camacho
    Hector Herrera
    Youri Tielemans
    Mahmoud Dahoud
    Piotr Zielinkski
    Geoffrey Kondogbia
    Davy Klassen
    Hakim Ziyech
    Emil Forsberg
    Julian Brandt
    Andre Carrillo
    Sheyji Ojo
    Mohammed Salah
    Jese Rodriguez
    Jose Izquierdo
    Nicolas Pepe
    Inaki Williams
    Kaspar Dolberg
    Andre Silva
    Callum Wilson

    0
  • barkel

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #22

    I meant to say that I took the list from nufc.com so I can’t really take any credit.

    I’d let the younger lads out on loan because I don’t think that they’ll get much game time, I would include Aarons in that for the first part of the season until he’s fit and played games.

    Get rid of Sammy, Vuckic, Good & the likes. The senior players out on load I’d only keep Krul.

    I think that there will be decisions over places and we’ll keep either Selz or Krul, Laazar or Haidara, Hanley or Mbemba, Mitro or Murph. I think we’ll keep Anita & Gouff

    0
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #23

    What happened with Haidara ? Is he injured again?

    Seemed to play a game in the cup and then has not been seen since ?

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #24

    Not going to even try and second guess who Rafa will want to bring in and looking at alleged links is pointless because once again, we’ll be linked to every player in the world who’s looking for a move or becoming a free agent. What I think might happen is some of our first teamers will drop back to become squad players/second choice and they’ll be replaced by whoever Rafa has in mind. Those currently deemed squad players will be moved on. Those dropping back likely to be Dummett, Colback, Diame, Perez. Moving on likely to be Mitro, Mbemba one of the keepers and whoever he feels is surplus after that. Most the young lads on loan are likely to be retained, such as Arma, Roberts, Woody and then he’ll give Rafa possibly all the TV money to spend on players /wages for incoming. Right now it’s difficult to say who he’ll keep and who will go but there just my basic observations. So that’s five or six first team players to buy, which hopefully will come in early to be introduced in pre season.

    0
  • JackBall

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #25

    Deciding who will be in and out this summer is impossible. One will only have to look at the NFL and Coach Belichick. He proved to the most ridiculous degree that with a few core players and the right coaching, tactics and attitude, you can fill in positions with players that most teams would not consider a prime player. I feel that Rafa has this philosophy and that he chooses players based on coachability and desire more so than mass perceived talent. He proved that he builds a team based for the league he is in, so I presume there will be several additions, but as we were surprised by who he picked up (and who he plays) in the championship, we will be surprised again.

    0
  • dark x steve

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #26

    Looking forward to tonight’s game, hopefully another 3 good points. Could you guys help me out allways love checking nufc blog out and I was wondering if I could get feedback on a video. I want to try do some scenarios on Fifa and simulate them to find out my latest one is all of the wonder kids in one team. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RrvLA1-R7yY If any of you guys could check it out and leave me some feedback on the page that would be brill. The next one I want to do is Newcastle back in the premier league and see how they would do. Would anyone be interested in that?

    0
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #27

    Also is there any streams of tonights game?

    Heard there was talk of a beam back but not sure if that meant a stream for everyone else!

    0
  • clinath@ed

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #28

    How much do we get for gaining promotion? Assume we win this league…
    History dictate Ashley will only give Rafa whats actually in the bank. Though we should have a few quid left from last season….

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #29

    Lindisfarne,
    I think you got me mixed up with someone else.
    Tsunki,
    That list is made up of a lot of u23 players, do they need to be cleared out.
    Haidara, Sammy and the Gouff would go.
    It would be easier to name the 25 we’re allowed in the squad. I thought you could have as many “homegrown” as you wanted.

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #30

    Rafa Bingo

    Darlow

    Anita Lascelles Clarke Dummett

    Shelvey Colback

    Ritchie Diame Gouffron

    Murphy

    3-1 to us

    4 hours 9 minutes to kick off

    0
  • supermac69

    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #31

    To be honest I think he will retain Anita and goofy as they can fill a number of positions but only as squad players which I would be ok with tbh, mbemba will also stay imo but mitro looks dead and buried under Rafa , shame..!

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #32

    I still hope we don’t keep Anita or Gouffran both have served their purpose this year but aren’t good enough for the PL

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #33

    Rafa Bingo

    Darlow
    Yedlin Lascelles Clarke Dummett

    Shelvey Colback

    Ritchie Diame Atsu

    Gouffran

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #34

    Bingo time
    Darlow
    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Dummett
    Shelvey Colback
    Ritchie Perez Gouffran
    Murphy

    0
  • supermac69

    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:10 PM

    Comment #35

    Ww to be honest I can’t see Ashley splurging so much cash that we buy a full team, so having said that I think it would be wise to retain them for the start of the season because of their versatility and maybe look to upgrade in Jan, theirs a lot more in that squad that will be moved on before them imo

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  • WWSBRD

    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #36

    supermac
    U might be right about Ashley and money but I don’t think a back up or rotation RB will cost that much or whatever Gouffran is

    I don’t think they versatility is much of a strength tbh Anita is cheap everywhere other than RB and Gouffran is poor in the PL wherever he has played for me mate

    0

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