Rafa Benitez was interviewed by the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder in Germany today after the excellent 3-1 win at Wolfsburg where the team played well, and it was a vast improvement on last Saturday when we lost 2-1 at Mainz.
Goals were scored by Aleksandar Mitrovic, Matt Ritchie, and Christian Atsu and the goal we gave away was a penalty.
But Newcastle should have had a stone cold penalty when Ayoze Perez was brought down in the penalty area in the second half, but it wasn’t given.
But Rafa wasn’t too bothered about that because he said it was only a friendly.
Now we play Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon at St. James’ Park and that’s our last friendly before we take on Spurs the following Sunday to open our Premier League season. – and that game is also at home and certain to be a sellout.
Rafa Benitez at Wolfsburg this afternoon
After the game Benitez said this in the Chronicle:
“We’ve had more time on the pitch, and it was fine. We scored more goals and made some chances, and didn’t give them chances, so it was a little more positive.”
“We aren’t far away.” “The strikers need to score for confidence. Sometimes if they don’t play well, they still score which is important.”
“But even if Mitrovic scored or not, that’s only a contribution. He worked very hard. He knew would only be playing 45 minutes, so the idea is right.”
“He did well. The team was better from Mainz, and that was positive.” “We still have more time to improve.”
“It was good (Matt Ritchie’s goal), and he has this quality to score those type of goals.”
“These things can change a game obviously.” “For us now it’s about working as a team together and be sure everybody knows what they have to do.”
“Yeah, I didn’t see the penalty we conceded.” “The one we didn’t get was a penalty (Perez was blatantly taken down in the second half).”
“But it’s OK, it’s a friendly.”
Those are positive words from Rafa, and now we need another good performance on Sunday afternoon against Verona, and we should be all set for our first big test of the season – against Premier League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, 13th September.