Rafa Expects Better Results Soon But Remember – 17th Place Would Mean Success

Rafa Benitez refuses to give up anything, and that’s one facet of his personality that will be valuable as Newcastle try to stay in the Premier League this season.

Rafa was an angry man at the end of August, and from what he says today we didn’t have to do what Newcastle did this summer he hints money was available.

It looks like Mike Ashley froze the funds that had been promised to Rafa in that early meeting with Ashley.

Rafa will not stay with Newcastle if Mike Ashley is still the owner in May.

And if we are relegated – and there’s still 20 games to play – we haven’t a clue if Rafa will see out the last year of his contract.

Rafa Benitez – he’s the best chance of survival we have

And as far as sacking Rafa – heaven forbid – who would we sign to replace him?

Tony Pulis is available.

Here are some words from Rafa after the game yesterday as reported in the Chronicle:

“The difference between teams around the table is not too big.”

“If we continue playing like this, we will have a couple of games where we get better results and that will give us more confidence.”

“It will be easier for us to continue with the same attitude and message, and trying to win more games.”

“Our situation is that we did so well for a while that everybody was expecting that we could be in the top ten, but we knew that this team, coming back from the Championship last year.”

“And then doing the things that we did in the summer, had to be near the bottom of the table.”

“Obviously, the last results have not given us too much confidence, and we had two or three injuries when maybe we could have done better against teams that are closer to us.”

“We didn’t do that because we couldn’t.”

“We lost by one goal, and then we are in a position that could be expected because the things that we did were right.”

“Now, we have to put things right and make sure that we continue with this mentality and spirit, and playing better if we can.”

Our best chance of survival in 5 steps:

  1. Keep supporting Rafa and our players
  2. Amanda Staveley quickly buys the club
  3. At least £30M is made available to Rafa in January
  4. We get some good players in next month – maybe some on loan
  5. Jamaal Lascelles stays healthy for the rest of the season

Remember – if we finish 17th in the league table – it’s been a (huge) success.

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Comments welcome.

402 comments so far

  • cyprus

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #1

    Ed, I agree we must keep supporting Rafa, despite the fact that his PL record must be among the worst for us, including AP, even Shearer.

    He has located the main problem, final third. Swallow his pride, or whatever it is, play mitro for now. Buy a top CF with that 30 mil. And cross fingers.

    Like Rafa says, plenty of games left. Give it a right go lads.

  • YoungMag :P

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #2

    Deary me jasper.

    Nice one. Let’s sack rafa yay. Great idea.

  • Toon XI

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #3

    I now this will not be popular, but I am not a Rafa fan. I agree the squad is not up to par. With that said, I feel Rafa has dwelled on the lack of transfers and quality too much in the public. I think he has undermined the confidence and belief of the team. To me the players are not playing for him. I don’t think he has the personality to inspire the level of player we have at this time. I also think he carries grudges to the point it is detrimental to the team performance. We are in a tough situation right now. If we sack him, we have complete chaos as Ashley will most likely hire an underperforming re-run. If we keep him, I’m not sure he will get the job done based on his personality and history. Not fun days right now and I don’t think there is an easy answer to the NUFC problem.

  • JohnJ

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #4

    Yes after all the games are played if we finish 17th (or above) that’s great and we can start building on that but going down again doesn’t bear thinking about!I

    I just hope that we can move back up the table soon and not have another squeaky bum time in April – it kills me when we’re in that situation!!!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #5

    Deary you YoungMag!

    We have this saying here “Sweet Child has many names” so I am flattered, but my name is spelled with an e and not an a 😉

  • Bobbybee

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #6

    You sum it up perfectly Ed. As does Young Mag on the previous page.
    The bigger the money difference between PL and Championship, the bigger the gap in quality becomes. We’re struggling because the team that won the Championship simply isn’t good enough to compete against clubs that have had PL money for years.
    Our spend, even compared to much ‘smaller’ clubs is minute. Our most expensive buy was another Championship player, who, had he known no more money would be available, Rafa probably wouldn’t have bothered with.
    We all know who’s to blame for this. Ashley must have decided to sell up before Rafa joined the club and failed to mention it.
    All owners are in it for themselves. The next lot may well be the same, so I’m not getting too excited, but speculate to accumulate will suffice for me.
    I wonder what those bleeding hearts calling for Rafa’s head expected him to do with a Championship squad? Brighton and Huddersfield both spent more than us to prepare for this season.
    We’ll see exactly how many PL teams come in for our players in January or the summer. Don’t expect a queue though.

  • JohnJ

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #7

    Toon11 @3 When you are in the middle of a storm you stay together with the captain otherwise you’ll end up in Davy Jones Locker (in this case The Championship) and anyway who exactly would you bring in as the new captain – there’s not exactly a boat full of good ones around just now!
    In Rafa I trust! HWTLs

  • Toon XI

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #8

    This question is – how will you all feel if we take zero points from WH and BHA? Still support the direction we are headed or consider having a change in an attempt to rejuvenate the players?

    The lack of funds is an issue no doubt. But it is what is now. We need someone to inspire and lead. Not seemingly stuck in the past.

  • Nufc 4ever

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #9

    When Keegan won the championship he had Kelly with over 20 goals. Knew he was not a premiership player and replaced him. He was able to do this with a owner who backed his manager. Need i say more

  • jimiley

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #10

    First 9 games 14 points
    Next nine games 1 point.
    Same team and manager. So whats the difference? Nobody would swap our squad for Huddersfields at the start of the season.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #11

    Those saying Huddersfield have a worse squad etc as I said yesterday they had mounie on the bench yesterday who would walk into our team. Mooy would walk into our team. Tom ince was on the bench who would possibly be our best winger. I really don’t think they are as weak as people suggest. I would go as far as saying they have a better first 11 than us. No doubt they will be battling with us for relegation at the end of the season.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #12

    I look at West Brom’s side now and the gulf in quality between us and them is there for all to see. They will be battling with us also but we need big investment to stand a chance (at least 50m)

  • Bobbybee

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #13

    Yes, Rafa’s run is poor, even compared to Pardew & Co, but they had better players to work with. The difference in quality in the PL now, compared to when we went down last time is monumental. Where do you lot think we’d be without a manager of Rafa’s ability? I dread to think. This squad is not PL quality. Nowhere near, but we’ve not been cut adrift and that alone is down to one man.
    What was that about Anita? You do realise he can’t even get a game for Leeds, right? That’s Leeds, who might not even make the play offs.
    This last financial increase in the PL has changed the landscape massively. Players good enough for the PL two years ago aren’t necessarily good enough now. Players like Gayle weren’t good enough for Palace in the PL even then, why should he be good enough now? Times have changed, some of you need to change too.

  • c-dog

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #14

    Too many willing to give players a chance. Like from the moment we were linked with Josiére it was obvious we were lining up a player who had absolutely nothing to offer this club. Then he scores a volley in training. Training and a few sing his praise. Enter Josiére into a competitive match, worst center forward in the league.

    Lejeune, relatively unknown. Preseason friendly. Looks comfortable on the ball. Preseason games have no intensity. Competitive games, he’s been way off the pace. Could adapt in time but we as a premier league club are running outta time.

    Concentrating on weak link players is a good way to deflect criticism from Rafa. We will judge Rafa when he is backed in the transfer market properly. Until then we have a squad and this is a squad which one can only criticize.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #15

    Bobby is really smashing it out the park with recent posts.

  • Pottsclock

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #16

    There are not many WBA players I’d rather have over hours TBH. I think WBA will go down

  • Tenbytoon

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #17

    If this 30 million is true then that is no where near enough to get what we need to stay up when you account for wages and bonuses, we’ll probably get 1 maybe 2 players, i reckon we should use the money to get high quality loan signings, and if we manage to survive rebuild in the summer with fingers crossed Ms.Staveley at the helm to back the club properly

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #18

    C-dog Joselu looked really good in his first 2 games for us and also had a good pre-season for stoke. Don’t make out he has never shown anything as it’s lies or shows your lack of knowledge.

  • Mister Tuff

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #19

    Saving grace for me at the moment is the points spread at the lower end of the table. Quite tight. There’s only 11 points difference between 18th and 8th. A decent run -with some luck could see us move up the table – yesterdays performance was much better than previous weeks – so there is hope there. Only fear is our inability to score. Current forwards have proved they are not up to the required level (and never will be).

  • Carl

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #20

    As I said in September our tailspin into the mire was inevitable. In fact it is exactly the same as that of McClaren 2015-16, Carver of 2014-15, and the Pardew tailspin of 2012 -13. Who knows whether Pardew’s 5th place finish with the right investment could have secured a CL place?
    I get no satisfaction from the entrenched views of many on here who take the lazy route of being insulting to those who don’t share their point of view rather than make a convincing case. Many simply don’t have much to say football related but single out many that do and accuse them of issues not remotely related to the major issue of surviving in the Premiership. Let’s look forward and stop the KK, SBR re drafting of history to support the life and times of Benitez. It’s what happens over the next few months that will determine our survival. The
    more measured fan always thought this season would be tough
    and require a calm and resolute persona.

    For the fans who give up their leisure time and money it can be morale sapping to subsequently the comments of so called fans on here posted during the game.
    I am not thinking of Hail w Ashley who has a good understanding of football. It’s those who single out individual players yesterday if was Rob Elliot for ludicrous criticism. Most of the away fans I spoke to thought he had a very good game and was certainly not at fault for the Arsenal goal.
    The vast majority of the toon army want Ashley out and we made our voices heard. We had enough of the under investment and academy failure. Rafa deserves a realistic transfer kitty to prove what he can do with a squad of his first choice choosing.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #21

    Potts really?

    Without knowing their side too much j would say the below is a start:

    Foster= better Gk
    Evans = better Cb
    Gibbs = better Lb
    Livermore = better cm (maybe merino it’s debatable)
    Randon = better striker

    Jacob is steady and on par
    Don’t rate McLean much tbh

    Don’t know much about there other players but the likes of Nyom, hegazy, Burke and krychowaik are probably better or at least on par with what we have bar 1 or 2 maybe.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #22


    Interesting angle the training aspect, I understand that Rafa puts a lot of faith in those he feels train hard which may be why we see Diame figure so much in games.

    All it says to me is that players that look good in training are often cr^p, as you point out, on the pitch.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #23

    Then you have Barry, brunt,Rodriguez, Robson Kanu and possibly myhill (on par with Elliot??) all on the bench. Oh I think there is a big difference

  • Carl

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #24

    It’s not rocket science. You just need to look at the number of games we’ve lost 1-0 and overall number of goals scored.

  • c-dog

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #25

    Nufc Josiére was never good. I understand people wanting him to be good but he’s not. He’s slo, lazy and has no composure. Works little for the team and leaves it looking like we’re playing with 10 men every week.

  • Jib

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #26

    dumme mand har mange navne

  • Carl

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #27

    If we are to be embroiled in a relegation battle our GD is much better than others. We’ve generally kept a tight defence but need to create and score more.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #28

    C-dog the fact you just called him lazy shows you know bigger all tbh.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #29


  • Bobbybee

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #30

    Stuck in the past? Rafa’s last job was Real Madrid ffs. He was sacked because of politics, not ability.
    Seriously, I’m out of here. The lack of football nous on here is beyond a joke.
    Same team that won the Championship basically, with a few single figure additions. Why on earth do you think we should be able to compete with this team? Jesus Christ, complete with his bag of holy tricks, would struggle to keep us competitive in the BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD.
    Still, feel free to tell us who exactly Ashley would hire to save us, I’m all ears. 🙂 More importantly, which other quality manager would even consider taking the job working with these players? Not one single current PL manager would leave their club to work with this Championship squad – I’ll guarantee that right now, free of charge. So it would need to be one currently out of work.
    Rafa’s took a huge gamble staying with us and I, like the vast majority, are grateful to him. Have a nice day.

  • Nufc 4ever

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #31

    Dont take any notice of thirty million. You are not going to say how much you have to spend. Over 30 staveley calling the shots up to 5 fatman is

  • c-dog

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #32

    Haha, maybe not lazy. Maybe it’s his complete inability to move then.

  • Pottsclock

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #33

    NUFC-83 – yes, really
    I give you Foster and possibly Evans – though I wouldn’t rate Evans over Lascelles this season.
    Rondon is not a good striker – never has been – and the stats back that up. He has a 1/5 strike rate in the PL which would give him less than 8 goals per season. 29% accuracy in shooting – just watch him in this match.

    You called it a gulf in quality. It’s not.

  • Carl

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #34

    The Arsenal game was probably Jos’s best in a toon shirt. He can’t be accused of being lazy and put himself about. Koschelny was given a battering partiicularly in the air

  • L Toon

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #35

    Now then, long time reader but first time poster so here goes. This is just my opinion on where i feel we stand. We have arguably the best manager we have ever had, who’s won every single European cup competition, champions league, uefa cup twice and broke the monopoly on la Liga of Barca and Real, so im privelaged that we Rafa Benitez, so lets all get behind him and the team. Even though were struggling i would much rather look over at the dugout and see rafa benitez than pardull, schteve or pulis any day of the week. Hes managed the biggest clubs in the world and the best players too and now suddenly hes not good enough for us. Good grief.  
    Yes rafa is making mistakes undoubtably but i feel rafa is making mistakes trying to find solutions to what is lets face it a whole host of problems. For anyone that has read inside the rafalution will know just how fastidious and meticulous benitez is. When rafa arrived he inherited a shambles, it wasn’t so much pick a team but sieve through the car crash to see whats available but unfortunatley wasn’t  enough. So phase 1 had begun, homework was done to get the right experience but also the right characters to build a team capable of promotion. He didnt need a brilliant squad just one capable of promotion. Players were bought for a purpose to do a job with a specific goal in mind. Pronotion. Phase 2 to was to build a squad capable of a bit more than premier league survival. The day after the title was sealed, benitez went to see the board and told them the team lacks quality and premier leafue experience. Not a put down to the players just a genuine honest statement. Rafa went to ashley with a busines plan of how he could build a team and make ashley money at the same time. A plan that was fundementally and disgracefully ignored. This is another problem that ashley has created for rafa. After funds were promised rafa has therefore informed the likes of mitrovic, mbemba, darlow and coleback that they have no future at the club going forward. So when the promised funds were no longer there benitez is nearly two years down the line still having to work with players he doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t trust as the funds arent there to replace them and it’s just created so many mixed messages.  So for those criticising rafa, put yourself in his shoes. The promised funds are no longer there and you now have to buy 6 or 7 players of quality and premier league experience  to build a squad for 35 million gross and 11.5 net spend taking into account the following things

    . The club wont back you to bring in a freebie and a loan in abraham and caballero
    . Transfer fees
    . Wage caps
    . Loan fees
    . Space needs freeing up in the squad
    . The club taking weeks and months to complete a loan deal and a deal with a release clause for lejeune and merino as Justin barnes is scrutinising every single penny that goes out of the account to get the books in pristine order.

    Plans had to be redrawn and targets altered. Mark Douglas said joselu was plan e or f an as for manquillo he was like y or z. Benizez didnt wake up one day and say ive got all this money to spend but im going to buy manquillo and joselu. If he could have bought better he would have done. He felt this was the best he coupd get with what was abailable. We couldn’t afford the fee for lucas perez at 12 million and we wouldn’t pay kieran Gibb’s wages. Even when he was told he had to sell to raise funds and clear space they still wouldn’t buy any players. It got that desperate we even offered gouffran a new contract. If someone can find a premier league striker who will score the goals to keep us out a relegation scrap, that will cost 5 million and play for 40 grand a week then let me know.  Rafa wanted a experienced goalkeeper in the summer, someone who could command the box and organise the defence but ashley new better. Had abraham come in, mitrovic would have been sold and the funds reinvested. I understand why rafa doesnt trust mitrovic but i do feel he should be given a chance but mitrovic would have been sold when we were relegated had the right offer come in. Rafa wanted a number 10 as perez and diame are just hopless at times but again mikey new better. Rafa warned ashley what would happen, but again our ignorant owner new better.

    No ashley does not pick the team, or choose joselu and perez or bring diame on or choose the  tactics but its his crippling lack of investment in the squad, the facilities, the scounting network and youth development that have put the club in the position it is.

    There’s only one man to blame for the catastrophic decline of our club and thats ashley. We were a club with european ambitions when he bought it and hes now taken us to nothing more than a good championship side, behind only Asenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool. Not only are we still light years behind them, Everton, Spurs and Man City have astronomically eclipsed us as well  but  the most galling and depressing is that the likes of  Bournemouth, Stoke, Leicester, Southampton, Burnley, watford and West Ham have all shot past us which is a damning indictment of Ashley’s tenure. The last list  of which are not bigger clubs with bigger budgets but simply clubs with far bigger ambitions.

    Fundamentally, for once we have a squad that gives everything a squad that cares wich is great and so refreshing but its a very young team with a crippling lack of experience thats having to learn very fast very quickly. The premier league is merciless, unforgiving and punishing and were being brutally punished for our mistakes. More often than not its not what you do right its what you dont do wrong and for all the good we do do at times in games how many times he we thrown it away with a momemt of madness or a silly mistake, and its these mistakes that are costing us. Had darlow not messed up in the last two games theres at least two points right there. Had perez scored from 6 yards against huddersfield another point. Had lejeune not given away the silly penalty we would have won at southampton. Had we switched on for the last kick of the game against Bournemouth thays another point. Had shelvey not got sent off against spurs there may have been another point there. So had we cut out the silly errors and had a bit more luck thats at least another 6 points there, suddenly were on 21 points and things look alot different. But its not just that, its mistakes against watford, westbrom, chelsea and united as well. Benitez sounds like a stuck record in his interviews and i hate listening to them but hes not wrong to say we have to stop making mistakes. He must stand there on the sidelines every week tearing his bloody hair out. We cut out the mistakes today and it took a stunning strike from
    Ozil to beat us. As a manager you can  have the best game plans in the world but  you cant legislate or compensate for the players making silly mistakes. Had we not made the mistakes, we would be far better off right now. The fact we have been competitive in virtully every game is a testament to rafa and what he is able to extract from this group of players. After all this is virtually the same the same group of players that not long ago were found out against fulham, sheffield wednesday and ipswich town. Rafa’s doing the best he can with what he has available  and if anyone thinks that mourinho, guardiola or klopp could do a better job needs to give there head a shake. I genuinely can’t think of anyone of our players who would walk into another premier league side and that says it all.

    He has absolutely no right to ask for 400 million, even in this market with all the money washing around the premier league as the club is simply not worth it.  Any potential buyer or investor after a thorough due diligence process and audit  will offer a true and fair representation of the club. You would have to be either insane or stupid to pay any more  than that. Its a squad full of championship players and 4 out of the last 5 seasons we have been in the premier league weve been in relegation battles. If ashley thinks someone will offer him 400 million then he needs to take his head out of his enlarged gluteus maximus. The club is worth what its worth and he has to be realistic about what he can get. Secondly, you don’t just make money by making money, you make money by saving money as well and he must of saved himself 200 million in free advertising. How much did sports direct make out of his free advertising? So hes had his pound of flesh from the club and then some. Just  fork off ashley.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #36

    Potts so let’s get this straight. Your telling me Gibbs is not better than manquillo and Livermore is not better than Hayden? Rondon who is keeping robson Kanu and Rodriquez out the team is not better than Joselu. Lol let’s not carry this on it’s getting silly.

  • c-dog

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #37

    I’m still happy with Rafa as our manager for now but one thing is for sure, his stock hasn’t been lower in over 15 years. Our club, under the stewardship of lord Ashley, has become absolutely poisonous. Thank the gods the his reign is at an end and hopefully the good times will return very soon. And hopefully Raf can keep us up so he gets a craic with a fair transfer kitty.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #38

    Two things that strike me.

    Ian Wright hit on one I’ve noticed all season. We’re losing games because of little flaws in players’ technical ability. Put bluntly, we cock up what is routine play for this level. It changes the dynamic of the game. But also it often leads directly to us conceding. It tells you Rafa has bought a squad of players that aren’t good enough to compete this season. The summer was wasted.

    The other thing is that Rafa never keeps faith with players. You cannot point to any player that he’s not dropped for “underperforming”. Some players are almost banished. And the body language of players betrays it, even if they appear to be giving him commitment.

  • Pottsclock

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #39

    NUFC. No. Livermore is not better than Merino – please don’t be selective about who you compare to. And as for Rondon – he has a worse goals to game ratio than Gayle in the PL.

    My point is that you used the word “gulf”. There is no gulf.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #40

    L toon forget post of the week that must be year!! Bang on in every sense .

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