Rafa Really Proud Of His Newcastle Team – But Class Counted

Rafa was very pleased with Newcastle first 30 minutes at Old Trafford tonight.

But then we conceded two goals just before halftime after going 1-0 up through Dwight Gayle after 14 minutes,  and our lads seemed to lose their belief in the second half.

But Rafa has something to take out of this game with the excellent play in the first 30 minutes but we conceded some very poor goals too.

You cannot give sloppy goals away against a team like the Red Devils and expect to get something out of the game.

Rafa Benitez shakes hands with Jose Mourinho

Rafa explained what happened in the game:

“I think it’s a very simple analysis,”

“It was a very good first 30 minutes and everything was great. We were working hard, we had a clear idea of what to do and we were doing well.”

“But then we conceded a goal, and the second goal made a big difference in terms of the mentality.”

“We had the chance through Isaac Hayden but couldn’t score, and we lost the belief we had in the first half.”

“We couldn’t keep the belief after the second goal, and then they scored a third goal too.

“Then it was a different game, but I’m really pleased and proud of my players in the first 30 minutes.”

“Then after, if you pay big money for players, they can make the difference.”

“You could see the difference in terms of the money spent. But it’s not as if we didn’t know that, we knew.”

“There was a big difference in that respect between the two teams, but I was really pleased with the first 30 minutes.”

“We had a couple of good chances in the first half on the counter-attack, but couldn’t score.”

“We were quite strong physically and technically.”

“But to concede the second goal in the way we did and not to score with the chances we had made it more difficult to cope in the second half and have the same belief. But we tried.”

“We conceded the third goal, and that is a big difference against this team.

“My team was creating problems. They were doing well and working hard.”

“It was Newcastle United against Manchester United, and they are different teams at different levels.

“I was really proud of my team.”

Good words there from Rafa but he has a lot of work to do next week on the training field – we need to get something out of the home game against Watford next Saturday.

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Comments welcome.

45 comments so far

  • AncientC

    Nov 18, 2017 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #1

    Nov 18, 2017 at 7:21 PM
    Comment #251
    “Uncharacteristic defending? You must be kidding. It’s individual brilliance that made the difference. Can you honestly put Diame and Hayden next to Pogba?! Joselu next to Lukaku? Are you for real?!”

    Looks like a complete hysterical overreaction to a legitimate comment about the defending today being uncharacteristic. The side has played Tottenham and Liverpool already, and defended better. By all means, KevinHann, carry on playing Mother Superior on the blog if that is what you enjoy.

    KevinHann, do you normally react in that way when you see a comment you disagree with? If so, perhaps you should look at dealing with your temperament problems.

  • sparky55

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:13 PM

    Comment #2

    It’s not rocket science…it’s always about the money.

    Money buys you class, talent, experience, competitive squads and silverware…Mike ashley’s “17th or better will do” mentality got us relegated twice and his nett spend last summer was more than his nett spend this summer so we now pretty much have a championship squad playing in the premiership.

    There’s only one fix for this squad and it’s money.

    Luckily that’s exactly what we’re gonna get and we should not judge the squad or Rafa on anything they do before January…it’s all about what they do in the second half of the season which is why I said a few times reaching the half way stage with 22 points would be brilliant…so still 8 to get like it was three weeks ago.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:23 PM

    Comment #3

    The sooner he’s gone the better. Posada says he’s been let down by football people, when he’s actually hired real football people he’s deliberately set out to undermine and let them down.

  • lesh

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #4

    Reposted from previous thread….


    I think it’s fair to say we’re all trying to look at this current season as paving the way for a takeover and a better future. The words ‘trying to look at it’ grossly understates the hope we all share for a brighter future.

    I’m sure we all share the wish a sensible bid is lodged to buy out Ashley, he’ll see beyond his own greed and consider the damage and despair he’s been responsible for over the 10 years of his ownership.

    Can we hope that next week brings us hope that we can look forward to starting a different journey? A new journey with an ambitious owner who’ll trust and support one of the best managers we’ve ever had, a manager who has pinned his colours to this club’s mast and help Rafa Benitez succeed in their mission – that of success for Newcastle United.

    Well, I hope to see that journey soon.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:29 PM

    Comment #5

    Shelvey was brilliant today. Best he’s played this season.

    Our defence has been great this season and even today wasn’t as bad as 4-1 suggests. They only had 5 shots so were quite lucky to get 4. On another day the keeper might have saved a couple of them.

    I disagree about Joselu though. He might have won 5 headers (one almost an own goal & the other four went unnoticed) but he didn’t manage a single shot or make any good passes or any good tackles that I noticed.

  • lesh

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:30 PM

    Comment #6

    Jail @3

    With you 110%

  • Thump

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #7

    The defending from the back 4 wasn’t terrible, the issue was the lack of support from the midfield. Their fourth (I think?) came from a pass that was played directly through our entire midfield, and then admittedly fantastic play to open us up for the goal. Either way, need to do a lot better against literally everybody else.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:40 PM

    Comment #8

    The biggest sickner is that he invested 130M in Pardew and McLaren in the space of two seasons while hoping we win fcuk all but see a return on the investment. Had he spent the extra 4M a year on a proper manager that 130M would have saved a relegation and the loss of X amount of M, prestige and starting from scratch again. Go on cyprus, tell us what a great guy Mike Ashley is.

  • KevinHann

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:42 PM

    Comment #9

    I have nothing against your opinion, Ancient – let’s just agree we are looking at the same things from a different perspective and move on. For the sake of clarity, I don’t think you are wrong, it was just that in my eyes the other factors played a much bigger role in what happened today and the uncharacteristic defending was pretty much caused by the attempts of a team starved of comparative quality to turn the tide against one of the best sides in the league – rather than a simple “we were under our standard today hence we lost”.

  • jimmysmith

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:43 PM

    Comment #10

    I can’t easily at all see us in the bottom 3 at Christmas. Too good a manager and too many similar standard squads in the league. Obviously we need a good January window, but even that won’t dramatically change things. You can’t pitch one, two, or three new players in seamlessly. Rafa will trust in his process, and that will keep us up, hopefully with some games to spare.

  • KevinHann

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:45 PM

    Comment #11

    lesh – I deeply hope so. If this turns out to be some sort of completely incomprehensible stunt by Ashley to avoid spending money (or even worse), it could be disastrous. But I’d rather not think about that.

    I so miss the days before Abramovich. The gulf in class wasn’t so monstrous in terms of money. Now you need to spend hundreds of millions every year just to stay in touch, let alone the investment required to catch up.

  • sparky55

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:49 PM

    Comment #12


    Absolutely no-one to blame for the position we’re in but Ashley. Every decision in the running of Newcastle was made by Ashley…he incredibly thought newcastle was just another SD outlet where he could buy it cheap and sell it high.

    It took him 10 years to figure out it’s not quite how it works!

  • AncientC

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:49 PM

    Comment #13

    Kevin, sure, no problem. Man Utd do have some real quality in their ranks, so I am not disputing they should have won that game, I just happen to think that on another day that scoreline maybe wouldn’t have so one-sided. I knew Lascelles was a quality defender, but judging by how sorely he is missed, it shows how instrumental he is to the side. Thank goodness we got Lascelles locked into a new contract recently.

  • AncientC

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:52 PM

    Comment #14

    It is honestly amazing to think Benitez has been at the club coming up 2 years, and he still does not have a net-spend on players. Here is hoping Ashley departs sooner rather than later.

  • beefman13

    Nov 18, 2017 at 9:54 PM

    Comment #15

    Home games, simple as.

  • willowdalerez

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:04 PM

    Comment #16

    I like hearing we showed fight and looked good early. Result hardly matters because only fools and dreamers had us getting anything more than a point if we played well and were lucky.

    For me what counts was we scored and created chances against Man U. We will pick up points at lesser clubs if we do that because they won’t have the talent to pick us apart.

    Gayle was the scorer interesting because I’ve been hoping he or Mitro would get a run of games and now that might happen!

    Put me down for all 3 points against Watford… no Pogba or Lukaku or De Gea quality in their side. We score 1 off Man U and chances aplenty we’ll dismantle them.

    There I called it so I know you lot who love to have the last word are taking notes. 3 points from Watford no 2 ways about it and Gayle will feature again.

  • booboo

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:06 PM

    Comment #17

    well that was some match and quite a display in the first half from the boys well done, we all knew it was a tough one, got to say pogba is world class he changed the game. lejune is class he remind me a lil a bit of woodgate when he plays the ball out from the back, murphy did well now i see his potential great to see aarons get some minutes same with mitro on to the next one. getting something from the top 5-6 will always
    be difficult but we should beat bournemouth and the likes at home.
    lets hope we start doing that.

    good night folks.

  • jane

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:12 PM

    Comment #18

    i’ve got a hunch Rafa put a bit of an experimental side out today because he wanted to save several players he didn’t play (Lascelles, Merino, Perez) for Watford.

  • jimmysmith

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:15 PM

    Comment #19

    I won’t object if he continues with Gayle, or gives Mitro a go, because we’ve clearly lacked goals, but expect us to concede more often if he does, unless he can drill the pair of them to effectively do the intelligent running and extra running in defense. The striker needs to lead the line on the shoulder of the oppositions last man when we have the ball, and also drop off when they have possession, and then choose the moment to lead the press from that deeper position. That’s not something either has been used to doing.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:20 PM

    Comment #20

    We seem to have a habit of giving the terrible managers blank cheques and giving the good managers nothing. Souness probably got about the same in one season as Bobby got in 3. McClaren probably had more than Hughton & Benitez combined. If we did it the other way round we wouldn’t have lost so much ground on the big teams. Better yet, don’t even emply contenders for the worst manager of all time in the first place. Like you say, an extra few million would have been better spent getting proper managers.

  • expatmag

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:22 PM

    Comment #21

    Boo boo

    Errrrr……we should beat Bournemouth at home?????

    Where have you been the last 2 weeks? Livibg in an igloo at the north pole?…..lol

  • jane

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:26 PM

    Comment #22

    Rafa could have played more defensive like usual and tried to win a point but he probably thought they would probably lose if they did that anyway so why not play 2 up front and give some others some game time there’s nothing to lose and we might get lucky.

  • booboo

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:47 PM

    Comment #23


    but we should beat bournemouth and the likes at home.

    now tell me what is it you dont understand ? expert fool.
    mind your own buisness with all due respect no disrespect
    i have no respect you idiot i aint got time for you.

  • Our Toon

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:49 PM

    Comment #24

    That was a good effort by the lads today, we have them a really good game in the first half, 2nd half we didn’t play as well but hey ho we are the first side to score at old Trafford in the league since Swansea managed it back in april. Over the moon for Gayle, that’ll give him confidence

  • Our Toon

    Nov 18, 2017 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #25

    Someone said prior to the match starting that pogba was overrated. He looked class to me especially considering he’s been out for 2 months and this was his first game back.

    Elliot got some bashing from the blog, I don’t think he could have done anything to prevent the goals, it’ll take time for Lejeune to adjust, Murphy did ok but decision making let him down. I’m happy with the performance!! Even joselu looked like scoring albeit at the wrong end

  • jane

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:10 PM

    Comment #26

    i’ve got a hunch that if Ashley is pulling a stunt it’s not to avoid spending money in January but has been to take the pressure off him until January, which has happened, and if there is no sale the message that may be put out is ‘i tried to sell but even though it hasn’t happened there will be money available in January’ in order to offset the reaction he will get for not selling.

    the reason i think it doesn’t make sense that Ashley is selling at a knock down price is because if Newcastle stay up which will probably be the case he will miss out on a big pay day and also he would lose the free SD advertising. if he is selling for a knock down price you would think there must be a good reason. did he give a reason when he put the club up for sale? i can’t remember.

  • lesh

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #27

    Having only seen the highlights on MoTD, did Mitro really play half a game?

    Now he’s had some meaningful time on the pitch, there doesn’t, surprisingly, appear to have been too much chat about him.

  • Jib

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #28

    Big Al came on minute 71

  • Jib

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #29

    I’m not saying Rob Elliot is a bad goalie
    Comparing him to De Gea and both Courtois and Cech
    in the N London derby – he is below the standard needed by
    any club with aspirations in the PL.

  • jane

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:31 PM

    Comment #30

    wouldn’t have known it from the MotD highlights!

  • Our Toon

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:45 PM

    Comment #31


    The 3 keepers you mentioned are in the top 10 in the world

  • U.S Magpie

    Nov 18, 2017 at 11:50 PM

    Comment #32

    Let be honest here, if we had on our team, Smalling, Progba, Juan with Rashford and Matic with Lukaku then we would be that team that clubs didn’t like playing against. The difference is the owners of Man United understand that you have to put money into the club to make them successful, also having a great manager is key for that club. Well, we have the manager just don’t have the owner that understands this, Man U owners come from sports, actual sports and not some clothing company with the sport in the name. That’s six players from Man U and we would be that force to reckon with, just a shame dumb and dumber ran our club. ( Ashley and Charney ) ( When Harry met Lloyd )

  • Jib

    Nov 19, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #33

    I actually meant to say Lloris not Courtois
    Our Toon@31
    So you get my point
    You build from the back
    Rafa is right
    a first class goalie is imperative

  • Our Toon

    Nov 19, 2017 at 12:18 AM

    Comment #34


    I agree we need a new goalie but under the current regime the salaries for the 3 you mentioned are astronomical compared to what we pay.

    It’ll take time to get a world class keeper

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 19, 2017 at 12:36 AM

    Comment #35

    Just watched MOTD highlights and my 2 pennorth for what it’s worth is that, in agreement with many others on the blog is that we need a better GK.

    He seemed to be half a second too slow in reaction time to at least 3 of the goals, which at this level is inexcusable.

    Otherwise, looking at the match stats, they were the better team but not 3 goals better.

    Seeing how other teams fared against the top teams I don’t think we should be too despondent and I for one don’t feel the team let us down given the quality of their players.

    We should have Merino and Lascelles back for the Watford game (hopefully) and I reckon that will be enough to stop the mini slide.

    Onwards and upwards.

  • chicousa

    Nov 19, 2017 at 2:50 AM

    Comment #36

    I applaud the fact that we came out fighting and scored first: that was a great opening 30 minutes! But as so often happens our early score only served to wake ManU up. But I think most of our players did OK today, even though there were mistakes made, each of which were pounced on by the opponents. Something to learn and grow from. Glad Murphy got some minutes to show that he does indeed posses skills and can play in the EPL. Thought Gayle did well, as did Shelvey, Yedlin and Clark for the most part. A sub-par day for Ritchie and Hayden. The subs were all brought on with the score already 4-1, so not much to say. Live and learn and get ready for Watford next week! HTL!

  • expatmag

    Nov 19, 2017 at 2:52 AM

    Comment #37

    Boo boo

    I am gutted tbat you havw no respect for me. Oh my….what to do…….you tosser. Get your facts right first.

  • expatmag

    Nov 19, 2017 at 3:02 AM

    Comment #38

    Jane @ 26

    And reasons for your hunch would be?

    I think there are many pointers showing he wants out of football altogether.

    ……sold all his shares at Rangers
    ……renegotiated the shirts contracts with them in their favour.
    …….hasnt been sighted at SJP this season.
    …….limited if any expenditure so far this season
    …….has put the club up for sale
    …….has admited he cant compete financially
    …….dropped his asking price and offered terms
    …….Rafa still at the club

    I think this all points to a quick sale

  • jimmysmith

    Nov 19, 2017 at 6:10 AM

    Comment #39

    “How shit must you be, we’re winning at home,” hahaha. Gallows humour. Sunderland fans serenading their Millwall counterparts after opening the scoring. The pleasure was short lived, as you might expect. They’ve now gone a record twenty home games without a win.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 19, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #40

    No we don’t, comparing what Freddie Shepherd done with transfers compared to Mike Ashley is blatantly evading the truth of complete lack of ambition Ashley has shown.


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