Rafa – We Need To Go Back To Being Compact And Working As A Unit

Rafa Benitez has talked in the past about the short blanket but he hasn’t actually used that example after the very poor performance of the team yesterday in the 3-0 hammering by Watford,

This is how Rafa described the short blanket after the Liverpool game:

“The reality is that because they are so offensive, they have sometimes problems in defense”

“I have talked in the past about the short blanket – if you cover your head, your feet are cold; if you cover your feet, your head is cold.”

“Sometimes when you attack too much, you are exposed in defense and to find the balance is the key to have chances to win titles.”

It seems that’s what has happened to Newcastle in our last two games.

We have a lot of problems scoring goals – we’ve scored 11 goals in 13 games so Rafa switched to a 4-4-2 for the game at Old Trafford and kept that system yesterday with Joselu and Dwight Gayle up front.

Rafa Benitez – we need to be more compact

The result is that we scored one goal in the two games but conceded 7 goals – we had only conceded 10 goals in our first 11 games!

This is how Rafa talked about yesterday’s  game in the Chronicle and he insisted it wasn’t just about the shape of the team:

“It’s not just a question of the shape of the team or the formation, it’s just a question of understanding that we are a team that has to work very, very hard if we want to get results.”

“That’s what we have to do.” “We were playing 4-5-1 before with one striker and still we were complaining about, ‘We need to play with two strikers’.”

“Now we are playing with two strikers and losing games, we are saying, ‘Mmmm’.”

“We have to realize that we are a team that has to work hard from now until the end of the season.”

“They are working hard, but in the second half when we conceded, we were a little bit disorganized.”

“We have to go back to the principles that we had when we were compact, we were working as a unit.”

“It doesn’t matter if you play with two strikers or one striker if you are compact enough to defend and attack.”

We should probably go back to a 4-2-3-1 formation (or 4-5-1) on Tuesday night at the Hawthorns and try to be a lot better in defense.

A win is what we need in that game with West Brom struggling and below us in the league table and having just sacked their manager Tony Pulis.

But it will be another tough game for sure because they got a very good draw at Tottenham 1-1 yesterday and played well.

And it’s a good question if Rafa has ever lost five games in a row in his management career – certainly not 5 Premier league games in a row.

Since he started managing Valencia in 2001 this Newcastle side could be the worst one he has managed.

But hopefully, the team will improve a lot over this season and quickly too.

That’s what we want to see.

Comments welcome.

11 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 26, 2017 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #1

    There’s no dressing it up we’re in trouble.

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 26, 2017 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #2

    I still think he should try 3 at the back. Our best team fully fit imo.


    I don’t see how Shelvey works for us. 2 great passes in all the games he’s played and that’s supposed to be his strong point.

    I think he’s overrated on here.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 26, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #3

    I wonder when Rafa last lost four in a row. I bet he’s seething.

  • AncientC

    Nov 26, 2017 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #4

    Shelvey’s needs some good forwards he can supply to bring out his best. I know Cisse was bad for being offside, but he did beat the offside trap now and again. I cannot remember the last time one of our forwards beat the offside trap. Shelvey is mortar attacking the opposition helped by the fearsome artillery division of Joselu.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 26, 2017 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #5

    Rafa has to ring the changes some players are looking jaded and others too comfortable the rotation kept everyone on their toes last season but because we haven’t been doing it players coming in are not sharp and some know they will be dropped the next game.

    I would like to see us put Gamez and Haidara at full back and just get them to sit back and keep our shape with Murphy and Aarons ahead of them attacking with Mitrovic up top with a midfield 3 of Shelvey , Merino and Hayden

    This would make us more solid and offer us a quicker counter attack threat

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 26, 2017 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #6

    He has Gayle aswell but it doesn’t seem to work at this level?

    He’s no Gerrard. Which he seems to think he is.

    I just think he’s average in the premier league. Every team knows what he’s going to try and do when he receives the ball.

    Merino passes it quicker and along the ground more, it just works a whole lot better for us.

  • Toonces

    Nov 26, 2017 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #7

    3 at the back might not be a bad shout. Not sure about ritchie having to be a full wingback though.

    But I would suggest that against certain teams a back 4 of Mbemba – Lascelles – Clark – Dummett might be a quite strong rear-guard. All 4 have a physical presence and enough athletic ability. We need everyone healthy to do that but I think it could make a difference. Manquillo needs to sit. Mbemba needs to play in his spot until Dummett is healthy. If we need the speed that Yedlin brings at RB, then Mbemba should be given a run at DM, knocking Hayden to the bench.

    But I think the biggest miss during this run of poor results was Merino being injured along with Lascelles. Merino’s class in the middle of the pitch makes all the difference. Lascelles is the only reasonably decent leader in the team. These last 4 games prove that we don’t have the depth to handle injuries to key players.

    The next place to improve, as others have mentioned, is in goal. Rafa was right in his assessment of our goalkeepers, we definitely need an upgrade – mainly in experience and leadership. If Roma doesn’t make the next round of the UCL, do you think we go back for Reina? Set up a future of Woodman being groomed for the #1 spot by Reina. One of Elliott and Darlow can be sent away. They’re too flappy and don’t command their area.

  • jane

    Nov 26, 2017 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #8

    as well as Lascelles and Merino, Perez from the start is the other missing piece from the hard working compact unit that was working better earlier in the season, i hope and expect all three to return against WBA.

  • c-dog

    Nov 26, 2017 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #9

    So long as Josiére is dropped(hopefully permanently) I’ll be happier…

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Nov 26, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #10

    Standing in the Cheviots reading the blog bloody freezing up hear but lovely afternnoon
    Anyway I think Rafa is stuck between a rock and a hard place

    Goes 1 up front we are tight don’t concede many but when we do we do not look like we can change tactics get back into the game ie Brighton Huddersfield Burnley

    But if we go 4 4 2 we create better chances but leave ourselves open and cannot score ie Bournemouth Man Utd and yesterday

    Got to feel for Rafa
    Stock or twist Tursday

  • billions

    Nov 27, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Comment #11

    RAFA is right. Yedlin cannot be in two places. Where was the cover from Richie? Just because he is a good player and we like him doesn’t excuse his failure to help defend when necessary.


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