Rafa Benitez Pleased With Both Players And Fans Alike

It was another excellent day at the office for Newcastle yesterday when we won our third Premier League game in a row and are now in 4th position and could stay that way after today’s games.

That;s the highest we have been for some time – probably since our 2011-2012 season when we finished in 5th place in the league table.

If we can beat the middle and lower league teams like Stoke, Swansea, and West Ham, then we can amass quite a few points this season in the league and hopefully will be nowhere near the relegation zone.

Rafa was happy after the game although he looked a little uncomfortable during the match as he seems to be still suffering from the after-effects of his hernia surgery.

Rafa Benitez instructs Jamaal Lascelles during the match yesterday

This is what the manager said after the game:

“The main thing is that the togetherness, the work-rate, the character, the whole team, the connection with the fans because the fans appreciate that.”

I put in the program notes that this is something that’s really important, players who want to stay, want to fight, want to defend the black and white shirt, and they are doing that.”

“The fans, they appreciate that and for us to do that every week and the captain leading by example is something that you have to be really pleased with.”

Rafa would have seen some excellent performances all around yesterday.

And we still have good players like Florian Lejeune, Jonjo Shelvey, and Dwight Gayle are trying to break into the starting eleven.

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52 comments so far

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #1
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 17, 2017 at 7:55 AM

    Comment #2

    Very enjoyable game topped with a great result – well worth the three points.
    Started off slowly let Stoke have too much possession until we scored then we should of been at least three up before half time.
    Great build up for first goal worked cross field to Ritchie who’s cross was superb with Atsu timing his run perfect – class goal.
    If only Joselu could put the ball in the net he would be worth a fortune – has great movement control and vision also excellent in the air but but got to convert the chances he gets.
    Thought Merino is getting better by the game could give Shelvey a lesson on how to drift into space to pick the ball up.

    Don’t know if anyone noticed that we must of ben practicing getting the crossfield pass in behind there last defender for one of or players to run onto – ie Atsu’s goal and two of Joselu’s misses – all superb balls

    Ref was SHITE – should of had a penalty and twice there last man pulled back our attackers – lucky to have 11 left on the field

    merit marks

    Elliot 8 – when called into action did brilliantly – unsighted for their goal which was a decent strike from moaner roller Shitquri
    MBemba 8 slotted straight back in excelled all game great to see a ‘ful-back’ who is comfortable on the ball and a great pass to seek out Joselu
    Clark 8 – went un-noticed but steady as a rock
    Lassalles 8 – another captains display capped with another goal
    Yeldrin 8.5 – another who came straight in from last season – tormented their defence going forward and defended well – I gave him MOTM for being away so long and slotted straight into the back-four
    Ritchie 8.5 – another excellent game great cross for first goal and also for Lascalles winner.
    Hayden 6 – struggled in midfield today – did not look up to the pace – gave to many free kicks away
    Merino 8.5 – this lad is class and getting better by the game – non stop energy drifts into space picks the ball up and rarely gives a bad pass. likes to get stuck in to great pass to find Joselu beginning of second half
    Atsu 8- great first half and a excellent finish for the first goal had the beating of their defenders.Unlucky not to win a penalty
    Perez 8 – best game this season so far took his ‘offside goal’ well chased harried closed down and liked up well with Joselu
    Joselu 8 – would of been my star man if he had put his chances away lovely to watch him drifting along their back four good passer of the ball holds it up well good in the air only if only he could put his chances away.

    Shelvey – 5 found it hard to get to the pace and Newcastles movement and running
    Gayle – 5 looks like he has got his confidence back should of had a free kick near the end and their player should of seen red for pulling him back when had run on goal.
    Diame – not on long enough.

    All in all excellent performance after we scored more of the same please – Joy to watch this season when they get into their stride.
    Rafa – 8 surprised me with his choice of full backs – but was a star move both played really well.
    Ref 2 – for turning up – tried his best to give Stoke the game.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #3

    Great stuff again. It’s great to be able to WANT to watch nufc again on motd, rather than suffering through it. The football and hard work is great to see. Rafa looks rinsed, it will take a few weeks before he has full strength i think. We were lucky not to concede towards the end though. That diouf looked like a decent player?

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:15 AM

    Comment #4

    Talking about trivial or superficial things, being interested in only one topic, and repeating the same stories and jokes again and again.
    No it’s not just Jail. No it’s not even Jesper.
    It’s being a toon fan with the good times and feel about the football club returning. Early days but despite all the pre season negative talk mainly from the media, about getting relegated- with Rafa never a possibility. We are now making everyone take notice about us for the right reasons. When talking generally to football fans the conversation isn’t about the owner but the players and the team. The players have bought into the Rafalution and having just watched the scenes at SJP so have the fans.
    We’re back, we’re a proper football team again.
    The spirit around the team is reminiscent of the KK era. Everyone associated with the club seems to be talking about the football we’re playing and not the off field shenanigans. Fortunes can change very quickly in football and I am following Rafa’s advice and only looking to the next game. He’s the ultimate professional.

    Haven’t been to a game since Spurs but I’ll be there for the Brighton game next Sunday. Might even see Tads and his dad.

  • stjamess

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:16 AM

    Comment #5

    how many points do Toon need to avoid relegation? Matt Ritchie reminds me of Stephen Glass and Nobby Solano, would love to see mitro upfront when he is back.Josleu very average to me

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #6

    questions from the game

    Merino, who drops out between Hayden Jonjo? merino for me is our best in that position.

    Dummett, does he get back in ahead of Mbemba, Mbemba looks accomplished in that position.

    Joselu needs to sort himself out and quick, he is doing all the hard work but not finishing it off, Mitro will be back pushing him soon.

  • expatmag

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #7

    Hopefully we can talk about the club and not another rendition of tbe Jesper/Manx ladies wrestling match yesterday.

    On to the game, which I had to watch on my phone due to Optus (Australia) conveniently missing our game off the live schedule last night.

    As many point out, the game should have been over by half time with Lascelles and Joselu (2) missing easy chances. Jamaal made up for it later though but dont take it out on Joselu. If he keeps getting the opportunities, the goals will come.

    I was impressed with the sustained pressure and closing down. Some nice passing sequences too and the pace in the team now is so evident. Atsu has added that bit extra and is becoming very integral.

    If we can keep these lads fit and raring to go, top 8 to 12 is not beyond them.

    My worry is that continuing performances like this will see the likes of Lascelles Merino Atsu Mbemba Hayden and Ritchie etc allattract bigger clubs interest and have their heads turned.

  • lesh

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:32 AM

    Comment #8


    You said that City looked awesome (last but one thread). Awesome? Which City you referring to? Stoke were nothing special and Swansea put up a helluva fight against Sperz but I wouldn’t describe that performance as awesome.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:33 AM

    Comment #9

    Catchy I don’t see rafa pairing merino and shelvey together. It doesn’t look secure enough. On the highlights I didn’t notice mbemba much. Can someone advise me? Is his passing good and does he get into attacking positions more than dummett?

  • Tsunki

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:34 AM

    Comment #10

    Talking about the same old same old – it’s Ian Toon with another reworked cut & paste treatise.

    And no it’s not because I’m miffed to be excluded from his “Approved Blogger” list. Although it does hurt.


  • gaz 44

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #11

    Munster I thought that Diouf had an absolute shocker
    Constantly letting us in behind him, misses a good chance (albeit not as many as Joselu) maybe just he was out of position but I thought he was the worse player on the pitch
    Anyway my toon ratings for what it’s worth

    Elliot 8- some great saves but thought could of done better with goal
    Yedlin 8 – some great interceptions and great on the break
    Lascelles 9 – captain fantastic again
    Clark 7 – never put a foot wrong but never had to do a great deal
    Mbemba 7 – clearly not a lb but coped well
    Hayden 7 – early booking kept him quiet
    Merino – 7- not as effective as in previous games but very solid looks a great buy
    Ritchie 9 – best delivery in the prem. how he’s not in the Scotland starting 11 is beyond me
    Perez 8 until the lascelles goal would have been my man of match- chases down everything , linked up well with Joselu
    Atsu 8- took goal well, should of had pen n stoke man a red
    Joselu 6 – strikers job to put ball in the net but couldnt

  • Tsunki

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #12

    Jesper the “ringing of the changes” according to you aren’t really wholesale and tactical though are they? Although they may be… Rotational?

  • gaz 44

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #13

    Munster mbemba looked like a poor dummet in my opinion
    He tries and was solid but clearly isn’t comfortable in that position

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #14

    Good post Ian Toon

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    Comment #15

    Hey, what’s this approved blogger list? Am I on it?

  • hibbit

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #16

    watching the re run Ron put up
    thanks Ron

    just noticing how quite the crowd appear to be in this broadcast when in fact the atmosphere and noise level around the ground the was amazing
    that 101% support Rafa was talking about was there for all to see yesterday but evidently Sky didn’t want you to hear it

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #17

    Excellent performance yesterday, so much different to what we have had to endure in the past and to some extent last season also. The passing and movement through midfield was sublime, really made me proud. Hopefully Rafa can also sort out the succession of players as well as push the Club into Europe over the next two seasons. I also see people are beginning to appreciate what Perez contributes off the ball.

  • pablos left foot

    Sep 17, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #18

    What are the benefits of being on the approved bloggers list. Special discounts, concessions for pensioners, where do I sign up?

  • MassiveG

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #19

    I think this is the best group of centre backs we’ve had this century. We’ve had one off class players like Woodgate and Bassong, but to effectively have Mbemba as 4th choice behind Lejeune, Clark and Lascelles is pretty decent

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #20

    From what I can see from my armchair, Mbemba is better than Dummett and I was really impressed how both fullbacks slotted straight back in like they had been playing for weeks. Lascelles catches the eye, but Clarke is just as effective and the partnership has stepped up since last season. Merino seems to drag the whole team up the pitch and although not as brilliant the defenders can chip in with a long ball up field. Especially with a target man that does not get pushed about and three AMs that are quick to pick the ball up.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #21

    “It’s really important that players want to stay, want to fight, want to defend their black and white shirt.

    “They’re doing that.”
    What a man. We need to do everything in our power to keep this guy happy and wanting to stay.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #22

    I thought you had retired Ian Toon, does this mean we don’t have to listen to jack Root’s sanctimonious wafflings for awhile or will you be giving us all three of you?

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #23

    Sorry was meant to say Shelvey is not really missed, but a good option to have waiting in the wings. Also Elliots saves made their goal look weak but he must have only seen it late as he was good on his feet otherwise.

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #24

    I’ve not seen anything just yet that gets us too much higher the Ashleys target of 17th come the end of the season.

    Three wins on the bounce is great and those 9 points will probably prove to be life savers come the end of the season but our defence is still not a settled unit and I can see us being picked off at ease by the better teams.

    Lascelles has been awesome where strength and determination have been required but when it comes to guile, decision-making and quick feet then he’ll be found out by the fleet-of-foot cleverer strikers.

    Our defence needs a lot of work, and yesterday Joselu proved Mark Hughes 100% correct by selling him…great movement…very clever…but not good at the most important requirement for a striker…so goals will not be plentiful for us this year and we’ll let in plenty goals which means IMO we’ll end up between 13th and 17th.

    And that by the way is a result taking into consideration how Rafa was not backed in the transfer window and we will certainly be testing Rafa’s coaching ability as he attempts to make silk from the sow’s ear of a squad he’s been left with.

    Forever hopeful but always realistic.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #25


    You’re welcome!

    What does that badge of a man symbolise on Rafa’s lapel?

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #26

    a form of cancer…

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #27

    Cancer, sparky?

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #28

    Not sure but I think it’s prostate

  • hibbit

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #29


    i think most folk i know would consider 13/17 a successful first season back in the Prem

    work in progress is about the best we can hope for this season considering the owners attitude to spending money

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #30


    Absolutely mate…survival is singly the most important target we should have this year and we all can live in hope that Ashley gets a phone call from a chinaman before the January window.

    Forever hopefull 🙂

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #31


    Foe the avoidance of doubt I’m not suggesting he’s got it, I think all managers wear the same badge in support of prostate cancer in general

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #32

    Thanks, sparky.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #33

    Hibbett, took your advice and read the in match comments. Some people will never be happy mate.
    Loved the irony of Hail telling jail his opinion meant pish because he wasn’t actually watching the game, then constantly complaining about the fans and atmosphere. Must follow that his opinion on the atmosphere was equally pish as he wasn’t there to judge it! The atmosphere was excellent yesterday as I’m sure those fans there would agree. Glass houses and stones springs to mind. 🙂
    People over the top about Joselu’s contribution as well. Whilst I do agree he needs to take those chances, his overall game was very good. His off the ball movement constantly dragged their defence all over the place. Just down to desperation to score and prove a point imo, but if he keeps getting into positions like yesterday, the goals will come eventually. I do like Mitro, but I think Joselu offers more overall and less likely to get sent off.
    Good thing there though, is both will be fighting hard to play and will push each other to better performances or risk getting rotated.
    There’s competition all over the park now and that only benefits the team. Anything around 6/10 and you’re looking over your shoulder. The bench yesterday was about as good as we’ve had for a long time.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #34

    If you respect people they will respect you. Nothing about liking them.

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #35

    Brighton could prove to be a banana skin..but if we beat them next week then we’ll have 12 points which is pretty much 30% of our points target after only 15% of the season…so that gives us a great platform to reach safety without being dragged into a relegation battle.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #36

    Not sure Birmingham fans agree about the benefits of Chinese owners right now. I want Ashley to sell up ASAP but looking at overseas owners in general, I’d sooner he sold to somebody based in Britain who has some idea about what’s happening.
    Not sure who Birmingham’s owners think they’ll get who has more nous about the game than ‘Arry. Like him or loathe him, I can’t see the next guy being any better.
    He brought in 13 new players and with the international break had about a week working with them; nowhere near enough to get them to gel.
    Whilst we all want Ashley to move on, we need to be careful in thinking anybody else would have to be better. Nothing is guaranteed in this game.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #37

    Morning Ron…and thank you once again mate 🙂

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #38


    Can’t argue with anything you’ve said there but would like to add Birmingham FC is a good comparison to make with Newcastle and without investment we’ll just be flirting with relegation until it happens yet again.

    Investment in the squad is key right now…we now have a great manager (not for long unfortunately) and the set-up at nufc from a facilities perspective is pretty damn good, the team behind Rafa is not too shabby either so all in all we have IMO a better than average set up with a great manager…but if you don’t invest in the squad we’re always gonna struggle…

    …so IMO that’s all we need…someone who will invest in the club and leave the rest alone because why would an investor want to change the rest.

    At Birmingham everything is wrong at the minute so I can see why the owner would do what he’s done…but no too much wrong at newcastle atm apart from a lack of investment.

  • sparky55

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #39


    I meant to say “not a good comparison”

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #40

    Tsunki…it’s a bit funny isn’t it. When someone says Rafa won’t make change to a winning side and he does then it’s just bloody obvious he would do that!

    …and when making two changes to a winning defence then it’s hardly wholesale tactical…there’s always something with you it seems!

    Good thing you got to throw in the word rotational! Good job!


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