One of the things that Rafa Benitez has been very concerned about all season is that his Newcastle players will take their opponents for granted, get too big for their boots and not bother showing up for a game.
That seemed to happen on Saturday when Sheffield Wednesday started the game like a steam train and kept going and Newcastle never seemed able to get into the game until it was too late at the end.
One of the things that will have horrified Benitez was Newcastle’s very poor defending and we were lucky to get away with conceding only two goals.
Rafa Benitez on Saturday
In addition to a very poor performance, we also lost Dwight Gayle to another hamstring injury and since there are only four weeks left in the season he may not play again this term.
So we will not have the player up front who has scored 22 Championship goals this season for us and it will be another concern for the manager.
This is what Rafa said after the game as reported in the local press today:
“We didn’t manage the tempo and the control well enough, so we have to improve.”
“We had our chances to win and at the end we were on top of them. but no result.” “We have to defend much better next time out.”
“We have to take our game back to the level that we know we can play at.”
“There were too many mistakes and we gave them too many options.”
We have to hope it was just one bad day at the office, but if we cannot beat Leeds United at home on Friday it would seem that we will have a difficult job of winning the Championship.
The odds are well in our favor that we can finish in the top two of course, but now is not the time tor the side to implode.
Rafa will want a good finish to this season so we can start next season (in the Premier League) and get a good start there.
The players were very poor on Saturday and they need to look themselves in the mirror and make up for that performance in the final five games left this season.
Five wins would be good.