Rafa Benitez has said that because we played two games in four days, he needed to make changes to the starting eleven at the Hawthorns.
That’s true and it does give a chance for the fringe players to get a game but it still came as a shock to Newcastle fans that the team was so changed from the team that started against Watford when we were well beaten 3-0.
It was also a terrible display last Saturday, and we’re sure that had something to him making 5 changes for the game at the Hawthorns.
Fans didn’t expect Jonjo Shelvey, Rob Elliot, and Dwight Gayle to be left out of the side.
That was a statement from the manager to all his players that nobody’s place is safe at Newcastle and he is not afraid to make the changes.
Rafa Benitez – message to his players
This is what Rafa has said about the changes he made:
“It’s just that when you play two games in a few days, you need fresh legs.”
“For everyone, they need to be sure that they will be part of the team, part of the season, and they need to know they can help the team.”
“Now everybody knows that they can play.”
Some players were dropped for the game on Tuesday night, but there were so many positives coming out of the game after the lads brilliantly came back from being 2-0 down in the second half.
Many of our players played well on Tuesday night, and it was great to have Mikel Merino back in the mix.
This lad can make the difference for Newcastle this season, and if he keeps improving, then we have to tie this lad down in the summer to a new improved long-term contract.
It’s going to be interesting to see what team Rafa starts at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but at the very least we need to put in a strong performance against the reigning Premier League Champions.
What do you think?