Rafa Benitez has been working intensely with his players this week after the shock 3-1 defeat at home to Fulham last Saturday, when Newcastle could have put in their worst performance of the season and it doesn’t help that we don’t seem to play well at home.
The other disturbing fact is we particularly don’t play well at home against the weaker teams in the league.
Five of our final nine games of the season are at home against Wigan, Burton, Leeds, Preston and Barnsley and we would normally be expected to win all those games, with Leeds United being the toughest.
Slavisa Jokanovic and Rafa Benitez on Saturday
But to do that the lads must get a grip at St. James’ Park and go all out for the home wins – and play at or near their best to achieve that.
We’ve already lost five games at St. James’ Park this season to Huddersfield, Wolves, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham.
We take on Birmingham City at St Andrew’s tomorrow afternoon and it’s important to win that game so we can quickly get back in track.
Wins are what’s going to get us promoted in these last nine games – as many as possible.
This is what Rafa has said today as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“I have been saying for a while that April will be crucial.”
“It’s more clear now that we have to keep doing the things that we were doing well for a long time.”
“And then analyse each game trying to find the solutions to our problems and quickly be sure we will be ready for the next one.”
“It’s really important for us to rest and then keep working with the players,”
“Travelling away, we didn’t have too much time. We have to recover and be ready for Birmingham.”
We are hoping that Newcastle can get a good win at St. Andrew’s tomorrow afternoon and that will go a long way to improving the mood with fans, which is a little nervous at the moment with Huddersfield making a real effort to finish in the top two.