Rafa Benitez looked a little uncomfortable during the game yesterday.
That’s not because we were in trouble or anything like that – but it was evident he was still suffering from the after-effects of his surgery he had during the International break.
But he has overseen Newcastle’s third win in five games, and that’s a lot better than when we were last in the Premier League with Steve McClaren.
Two years ago we had to wait for the 9th game before we finally got a win – a 6-2 drubbing of visiting Norwich City – and both teams were relegated along with Aston Villa a year last May.
But Rafa was happy after the game with Newcastle now in 4th place in the league table.
Jamaal Lascelles heads home the winner yesterday after 68 minutes
Hang on a minute – let’s just bite my hand to make sure that’s true and that I’m still alive.
Ouch, that really hurt – well it must be true then.
The manager – a world-class manager no less – was asked after the game if that was the perfect response he had demanded from his players.
This is how he answered that question:
“Yes, I think so.”
“We knew before the game that it was a difficult game and we had to approach the game with the mentality that we did, working very hard.”
“Trying to do things in the way we wanted to do to be sure that we could be strong in defense and then create something in attack.”
“It was not easy sometimes because they are a good team, but we knew more or less it could be like this and at half-time, we were talking about that, so the game-plan was clear to carry on with the same idea.”
“We had the chances to finish the game early and after, they had a chance and it could have been different.”
“But that is football and we have to learn that in the Premier League, you cannot make too many mistakes or you will pay for that.”
“At the same time, the good thing is winning, you correct things, you can improve things and it will be easier for me to get the message over.”
Next up for Newcastle are Brighton & Hove Albion away next Sunday at the Amex Stadium in the 4:00 pm kickoff game.
We must win that game.