Concerned Rafa Benitez Admits He Doesn’t Know What’s Wrong

This may come as a surprise to Newcastle fans that Rafa Benitez doesn’t really know what is wrong with his Newcastle team over the last three games, in which we have picked up only one single point and lost our chance to go back up as Champions.

It’s never easy to support Newcastle and after the previous two seasons being disasters, there’s now even more pain for Newcastle fans in what should have been a victory parade – at least to an easy automatic promotion.

Rafa Benitez meets Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor

But that’s not been the case over the last three games as our players have seemed to choke.

What’s going on?

The team keeps making mistake after mistake so Rafa is not clear what exactly is wrong and he had this to say yesterday as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“I am concerned about the change of the team in terms of the performance against Leeds and then our performance against Ipswich.”

“That is the only thing I am thinking about. “We know that we have to win games to do our job, so we will have to change and improve a lot.”

“We knew it could be this kind of game. I thought that we were ready, but it seems that we were not.” “We were not focused and mentally ready.”

“When we were reacting, we scored the goal, and it seemed that we had more control of the game, but then we made another mistake.”

“We are making some mistakes, and we are paying for that. “To be fair, in both of the last two away games, we have been punished for our mistakes.”

“That is it.” “They are mistakes that we were not normally making. When we played at home against Leeds, we had so many chance to win, but then we made another mistake and conceded.”

“We have to learn from that. “It is still in our hands – it still all depends on us.”

“We have to win the first game first though, then after that we can start thinking about the other two.”

This is a big management test for Rafa to somehow fix what’s wrong and get the lads back on track, even though we’ve blown any chance of winning the Championship.

But he will also have learned about some of his players and will know who they are who seem to have flipped out when these are games we must win.

It’s crunch time.

Comments welcome.

24 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #1

    If any player needed rested, Lascells is that player.

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #2

    and silly me for thinking mitro being so young cannot play 2 games in 3 days


    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #3

    Mitro can barely play 1 game a week

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #4

    Don’t worry Rafa, some lads on here have it all sussed for you.

    Catchy…Isn’t it a bit of a coin toss as to who starts out of Mitro and Murphy? Both have had good and bad days. It was discussed prior to the game that Murphy may lend us an edge due to his knowledge of the opposition.

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #5

    WWS, Lacselles cannot play football, he panicked

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #6

    tchy in norway // Apr 18, 2017 at 9:07 AM


    but it’s not just about 1 game.

    6 Ibizatoon // Apr 18, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Catchy…In regards to what?

    If you’re talking style and approach to games, I think I acknowledged that I think people are justified in being frustrated in that aspect.

    I think what is getting a little lost, is that for the first time, we do actually have someone who you have to give some (or a lot of) benefit of doubt too. Rafa isn’t a chancer, but yes, he is a defensive coach.

    As I believe we’ve discussed before (and it’s a fair question, you have certainly asked the same of me with regards to Ashley) and that is, accepting Rafa for who he is (defensive) other than constant bad feeling, is there a point to the hounding of him? It only leads one way, fan unrest, so do people want Rafa out?

    Would have I liked to see some changes this season? Sure would. In the balance of things though, I can live with it, happily.


    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #7

    Interesting considering he’s one of our best players over the season and played nearly every game

  • Rotonda heights

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #8

    I just don’t get why people think this squad should walk this league. we have so few quality players i’m amazed we’ve been top of the league virtually all season. are any of our players top 10 EPL team standard, I very much doubt it.

    Even then if we do have in some cases better players than other teams in this league, getting them to gel so quickly is a big ask.

    I can’t understand why the likes of kimbo, munster, tof etc are almost seeming to want us to lose to make a point against rafa, despite the team being largely very successful this season. Some very strange individual said he was bored of Gayle after he had netted 20 goals!

    These are the same people who championed Pardew’s serial failures. Go figure….!

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #9

    Catchy…”cannot play football”?

    Come on man, you can’t preach fair opinions and say things like that. Inconsistent and prone to panicked mistakes perhaps?

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #10


    i have no problem with that, and you will not read one word from me attacking Murphy in anyway. my problem was 4 changes . and the one player who needs dropped, played,

    this system has not really worked for a long time now, teams have figured it out. He is a world class coach , surely he can play other ways ?

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #11

    You make a good point about the brittle confidence of the club as a whole,and all the scars from previous debacles.. It seems that it is taking a lot to shake it all off.
    Add to that the constant pressure of us being nailed on certainties from day one. The only way we could ‘win’ this season was to slaughter everyone in our path and win the league by January. Everything else is underachievement.
    Look st the Amex yesterday… Unbridled ecstasy and rightly so.
    If that was us it would have been ‘huh they should have done this earlier with the 50 million…huge budget (!) .52000 home crowds…CL manager…oh it’s not fair that they were in this division…’
    On Sky sports news yesterday at 5 Jeff stelling and everyone else were creaming their keks at the Toon result. A media wet dream.
    That’s what we are up against and the team have buckled at times.
    But here we are, still in auto promotion spot with a few points to spare.
    Howay the lads, right to the end.
    Say what you like lads.. I know there are other views and that’s fine, you are entitled to feel differently, of course! That’s where I stand. Right behind Rafa and the team.


    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #12

    Hear hear

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #13

    Catchy…My issue is it’s easy to just make comments like “my problem was 4 changes”. Why? What are the problems with that?

    Yedlin on for Anita? Yedlin has put in some great displays, and I imagine the idea was for him to get upfield and supply the strikers with some crosses.

    Murphy for Mitro? You’ve just said you don’t mind that.

    Ritchie for Atsu? Normally I wouldn’t do that swap, but perhaps Ritchie wasn’t up to it yesterday, he has been one of our standout players this season.

    Hanley for Mbemba? As you may know, I am a fan of Mbema (for some reason, it’s hard to justify at times), but cannot really grumble too much imo.

    As for playing Lascelles, fine, he could / should have been rested.

    As I said before, on the system, I agree that people have a point. I’m just not sure how far people want to go with it, who will crack first, Rafa or you?

    He is a world class coach, maybe he’s concerned that the players he has aren’t well suited to too much change. I’m not a world class coach, so really am happy for now to give Rafa the benefit of doubt. He has said many times that he’s just taking one game at a time and has a plan to get us out of this division. He is on course to do just that.

  • kimbo

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #14

    Well Rafa £100k per week and you don`t know what is going wrong. Easy try something different like playing 2 strikers upfront. Rafa please pay consultancy fee of £10k to me, thank you.

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #15

    ww /ibiza

    when i watch Lascelles, he bugs me, his stats are good because he passes sideways , he is another Mike williams for me, tall and loves to tackle, his heading is shocking for someone so tall and big, he does not no how to direct his headers, every header is just getting his head on the ball,
    He is captain, but is out of position way to much, so why is he captain, he is not leading by example, he is the 4th best CD and i would even say Dummett would be better.

    what he does is give great sound bites, talks a good game

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #16


    What I will say, is that if perhaps those who were concerned about our style of play earlier in the season, weren’t made out to be the blog villains, their position may not have been forced to such extremes.

    Catchy and Jail have been having the same argument for about 6 months, with not one new thing being said. Not sure how that’s going to help with reasoned discussion, but then again, I forget where I am.

    HWTL, HWTF and HWTB (the blog…).


    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #17

    Good for u but just because u think it doesn’t make u right

    As for why he’s captain probably because of how he interacts and leads the squad I’d imagine something of which u can have no knowledge of but the manager can

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #18

    I kind of agree with some of what you say with Lascelles. But I think he is a good player with some developing to do. He talked and played his way into the captaincy with his efforts at the end of last season, but I think it’s weighed hugely on him this term.
    Mind you, he got the job from a cast of one, and that is the issue.

  • corkypants

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #19

    If it wasn’t for Rafa we could quite as easy be in the same boat as villa most probably in a worse position, HWTL in Rafa we trust!!!!!!

  • carl

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #20

    If you think a football comments section full of people who don’t watch games home or away are in any way reflective of the toon army then you are a completely deluded fool. The passionate and football knowledgeable Bobby b, hibbit , martoon type of fan will be at SJP giving their full support to see us across the line. There is no substitute for commitment and effort in playing and supporting. The occasional fan lacks what is required at this time. It’s the same old opposition claim of where were you when we were shite. You’re nowt but a fair weather fan who’s waiting to come out of the woodwork should things go tits up. Well it’s not going to happen and we will be playing in the Premier next season.

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #21


    richie played with Atsu yesterday, but that aside, give the players a run in the team, Gayle is out , pick one and play to his strengths, not many players like being picked then dropped. another point on that is the support players to the forward, they still playing balls as if we have a goal poacher, against leeds we played balls up to Mitro, Murph is the same type of player, but the style changed yesterday.

    Diane has no clue what he is doing , for a no 10 he sits way to deep no support at all to the forward, and i have never really seen him spread the play, he looks up and shoots from anywhere.

    Yedlin, again no real problem , but it wasn’t his day yesterday but it took 78 mins to change him,

    Mitro for Richie was a strange one on 82 mins, one can supply or score going off, it should have been Diame, he may have been tired, but 8 more mins was not going to make that much difference.

    Mbemba makes less mistakes than Lascelles, but tries to play and play higher up the pitch.

  • one fine day

    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #22

    Sing in the corner
    Bang on mate
    over the Easter weekend I watched a cracking doco BOCA 3D
    It is a fantastic bit of watching for anyone who just loves the game whoever you support.
    Felt watching it there are lots to compare between Boca fans and us ,other than the trophy cabinate obviously .
    The clips of the bombenara in full throat are spine tingling .
    The point I am mentioning this…..
    There is one part in the movie when a lifelong fan ,is talking about growing up during a time when they were going through some bleak times and he was thinking of following independiente instead.
    His father hearing of this pulled him aside and put it to him above did he love his family ?
    He replied of course he did.
    His dad asked if mum got ill or was not well what he do .
    He said well as they were sick I’d love them more to make them better .
    His dad said well that’s how it works with Boca when they are like this they need you more than ever .
    Was a bit like Bobby’s(robsons not Bobby bee ?)speech in the way it resonated with me .
    There are plenty on here who should watch it to see what’ it’s like to really support your team no matter what ,not call for sackings four times a season
    Sorry for the long post just got on a roll .

  • ascot7

    Apr 18, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #23

    Is it possible for the team to soft pedal. Are they arrogant ? Are some of them worried that they may be booted out ? and are not really trying to win. Finally, it could be to much in the bedroom with ale, and they are not focused. Give the Toon 24 hours before a game. Keep fit. Should be mandatry

  • widowmagandapoke

    Apr 18, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #24

    What is wrong? How about this? Mountains of advice from social media subscribers on who we should elbow at the end of the season. Gives lots of confidence to those being pointed at doesn’t it?
    Also Benitez, IMHO, made a mistake in appointing Lascelles captain. It is too much good responsibility to a young lad. I would prefer the more inspiring Richie to have the responsibility.
    And as far as the last match goes, after the fine display on Friday, should there have been so many changes? Finally let us all get behind the lads for the final run in and get us over the line. Support like Good Fridays is what’s needed.


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