Rafa Benitez will spend the week with his players seemingly determined to learn fully what happened in the game against Fulham on Saturday, when Newcastle didn’t seem to turn up and we were well beaten by Fulham 3-1 – the worst home defeat of the season with three goals conceded.
One huge problem for Rafa is the defeat and poor performance came right out of the blue and everything seemed to be set for a tough game.
Before the game Rafa had said Fulham would come and attack Newcastle, but that was also an opportunity for Newcastle to score goals, with Fulham’s defense certainly not one of the best in the division.
Slavisa Jokanovic and Rafa Benitez before the game on Saturday
But after an hour we were 3-0 down and even after Daryl Murphy scored we couldn’t mount a good enough comeback.
It was probably the worst display of the season from Newcastle and not at a good time either.
But Rafa will try to get to the bottom of what happened this week so he can ensure it doesn’t happen again in the final 9 games of this season.
This is what Rafa has said today as reported in the Chronicle:
“It is really important for us to rest and keep working with the players.”
“When we were travelling away we didn’t have much time.” “So now hopefully we can recover everybody for the next game.”
“I have been saying for a while that April will be crucial.”
“That is more clear now.” “We have to keep doing the things that we were doing, and do them well.”
“We will analyse this game and try to find the solutions to our problems.”
“Then we can quickly make sure we are ready for the next one.”
The next one is a game at Birmingham City on Saturday and it’s really important that we win that one so that Huddersfield don’t gain further ground on us.
Here’s how things stand at the top of the Championship at the moment.
Huddersfield are at home to Bristol City on Friday night, but their make-up game doesn’t seem to be until Tuesday 25th April when they are at Wolves.
Newcastle must win the game at St. Andrew’s and then when things start up again on April 1st when we are at home to Wigan, we cannot make the same mistakes we made against Fulham.
Newcastle have to find some way to play well at home and win the vast majority of the remaining 5 home games left this season – against Wigan Athletic, Burton Albion, Leeds United, Preston North End and Barnsley.
The away games are at Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Cardiff City.