Rafa Benitez Starting To Worry About Anxiety

We have seen there some Newcastle fans who are criticizing Rafa Benitez and his recent performance as Newcastle manager over the last month or so.

You have every right to criticize Rafa on this blog, but we also hope you will do it in a respectful way – and that you still support Rafa and the players – it’s the only thing we have going for us at the moment.

The manager was rightly disappointed after an inept display yesterday against a well organized Brighton side.

But we have to be thankful that earlier today Crystal Palace drew 0-0 at home to Manchester City and broke their 18 league game winning streak.

And for the second time this season they missed a penalty in stoppage time when they were drawing the game and dropped 2 points each time.

They could and probably should have won the game, but the penalty was saved.

Rafa Benitez – worried about anxiety of his players

The sides around us in the table are starting to put up some good performances and tomorrow we are at Stoke City who seem to be there for the taking if only we can play near our best form.

Rafa is starting to worry about anxiety affecting his young team:

“The anxiety sometimes.” “I have said many times that this is a young team that has to learn.”

“When something is wrong, we are suffering a little bit, so we need to take the positives today.”

“Everyone was expecting that this kind of game, you have to win, but we could see a team well organized.”

“They have players with experience and they have been together for a while the majority of them, so they know what they are doing.”

“At the same time, they know that keeping the ball and managing the tempo of the game, we could be more anxious and we could make more mistakes.”

“There are not many positives, but the main thing for me is that the reaction of the team in the second half, pushing, a clean sheet and still the team fighting for every single ball until the end.

“In the end, I think the reaction of the team in the second half – we were pushing, we were trying, the keeper was busy, but still it was not enough against a team that, I will say again, was well organized.

“We need to improve out decisions in the final third a little bit, the decisions on the ball, to be sure that we have more chances against any team.”

“It’s always difficult when the other team is well organized and you cannot find the gaps, you cannot find the spaces.

“As soon as you make a couple of mistakes, you have more anxiety.”

It’s the bane of relegation – players getting anxious and therefore unable to play at their best – and making too many individual mistakes.

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Comments welcome.

34 comments so far

  • jane

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #1

    “Tottenham’s Premier League match against West Ham has been moved from New Year’s Eve to January 4 less than a month before the game was set to take place.

    The Premier League have put the fixture back by four days due to ‘transport issues’ after a safety group advised against a full capacity crowd at Wembley.”


  • ronaldo aarons

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #2

    Think there was an overreaction to the game yesterday. Should be winning these games but a draw was a fair result. Both teams poor and looked like they lacked quality where it mattered. Had we drawn v West Ham and win yesterday then the mood would be considerably better.

    Stoke game is the bigger match and is a must win, thought this before yesterday too. I worry because they’ll be fresher than us.

    Not sure why West Ham have had a break during this period as they have a game in hand???

    It’s obvious we need reinforcement in the attacking third. Started aarons and Murphy v man city, and Ritchie and atsu yesterday. None could say they had a good game although atsu has been good recently. We are just so desperate to bring in a couple strikers and a #10. Even another winger wouldn’t go amiss.

    Hayden has been poor recently and I would definitely consider Diame or saivet in his place. Think gayle the past few games has missed a couple chances where you think he’d be clinical enough to finish them. If we wanted chances to fall to anyone, it would be him.

  • bettyswallocks

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #3

    Dec 31, 2017 at 1:50 PM
    Comment #219
    None of us can be happy having to watch the type of football currently being served up. Rafa must definitely shoulder some responsibility as nobody is beyond reproach and many of his decisions have been questionable to say the least.

    We are all aware that his requirements were not met in the summer and it seems clear now that the reason for the lack of spending was Ashley’s decision to sell the club.

    I think we should withhold judgement on Rafa until he has a more balanced squad at his disposal although we could have definitely been more adventurous tactically IMHO .

    If in the summer we had been offered a new owner with genuine ambition for the club and funds to back it up once the deal was in place, albeit with the condition attached that we wouldn’t be spending any money and would be playing just to stay up , then I for one would have accepted gratefully. Those that would have also accepted should consider this when booing the team and allowing their frustration to affect the team’s performance.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #4

    Cool. Still seems a bit unfair them having a break in between all these matches.

  • jane

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #5

    1 point separating the 5 teams immediately above the relegation zone now. all to play for.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #6

    I’ve not seen the crystal palace penalty but there is many calling it a dive. Typical of Zaha, hope he gets done considering they won a penalty from it. Plus he’s a big player for them.

  • lesh

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #7

    We’ll said Ed

    You’ve obviously marked the cards of those whose posts are both disrespectful to you, Rafa, players and other posters.


    The media’s line on Palace’ll be along the lines of plucky Palace stage brave fight against the odds, Citeh’s defence just too good too good…. Brave Roy took the fight to Citeh whereas……

  • jane

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #8

    Palace seem to have won loads of soft pens lately.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #10

    It’s just banter!!

  • bladeuser

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #11

    Dive or not he was in there box at least he was told to enter there half and palace deserved the point

  • bladeuser

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #12

    You have to be in the opposing sides box to win pens soft or not

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #13

    never a pen and pucheon should have got a red card a la kane scissor kicking lejeune

  • Tsunki

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #14

    I think a quality i would expect in a decent manager is one who gives you the straight dope on the situation and doesn’t smear it with sycophantic platitudes to retain his cushy job.

    We are dealing with professionals not school kids whose parents are going to come striding into the schoolyard with sobbing infant in tow to demand a fair play time.

    I think a big problem with the squad is that it’s dynamic is wrong. It got short dealt by Ashley in the summer, and instead of round pegs in all round holes we’ve still got a few squares and triangles, some of which are ironically supposedly the “better” players. Shelvey for instance sticks out as being a fish out of water in any shape because we don’t have the forwards and wingers who can bring down or run onto goal with his ranging delivery. He also cannot be adequately covered in midfield because we don’t have a commanding Defensive Mid. Merino different again but again suffers from a lack of protection and a like-minded quick-passing attacking midfield foil. When we get injuries, or the schedule calls for rotation, we are knacked because the delicate balance of what can be made to work is again upset.

    This is what Benitez is really short of, more so than quality perhaps.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #15

    Outside the top six, only Watford and Southampton spend less time in their own third of the pitch than us.

  • jane

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #16

    “You have to be in the opposing sides box to win pens”

    like Gayle was against City.

  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #17


    Just a quick way of saying Brighton slipped up, but I acknowledge we had to be in it to win it. I am annoyed that we had to witness many a poor game last season and there is still a lack of attacking intent. Which I do not consider to be all due to qualify of players available.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #18

    it’s fuuny city had as much as 80% possesion at one point and CP only went for it in the last 5-10 mins. Bit of perspective eh. Besides nice when you have a Zaha, benteke, cabaye, townsend etc, when we have, let me think……oh yeah, don’t remind me.

  • c-dog

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #19

    Good result yesterday. Brighton a good outfit. We just haven’t got the players

  • Ron Knee

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #20


    top bantz lol

  • Mister Tuff

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #21

    lesh – following your theme @6 the reports on Sky News for the Palace- City game was that Palace “frustrated” City. No talk of crap football or the worst game ever.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #22


    we were still top scorers by a country mile though.

    This time round we are a champo team in the PL.

    I didn’t enjoy yesterday and I haven’t enjoyed several games this season but even poor teams like CP have the aforementioned 4/5 quality players, whereas we have possibly Merino and Lascelles in years to come, but other than that absolutely nobody springs to mind as remotely PL quality. Even Hudderfield, Bouremouth and brighton are buying players costing nearly 20M.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #23

    ron knee

    it’s like catchy on here, why give these creeps the oxygen of publicity they so desperately crave

  • Shot Bru

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #24

    This is gonna be another shambles of a transfer window

    The window opens tomorrow? and it doesn’t seem like any players are lined up. Huddersfield already doing their business, an organised and professional club who will avoid the drop because of their meticulous planning.

    The Stoke game is huge, but I do think we perform better away from home…and Hughes is under massive pressure to get a result against us, otherwise he’s sacked.

  • jarra mick

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #25

    Difference today was palace were defending a point, we were defending a 1-0 deficit. I just want to see a team who attacks and tries to win games playing the right way, Rafa is scared to lose games and that destroys confidence.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #26

    I’ve just re-watched the Sky highlights of the game and there were two things that struck me from them.

    Firstly if we’d had an AC type up front, (Daryll Murphy, perhaps) we’d probably have won.

    Secondly we should have had at least one penalty, both were good shouts and definite penalties but of course we know that Refs. aren’t allowed to award us penalties, so why am I moaning about it.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Dec 31, 2017 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #27

    When ed says he better sell this year does he mean at 00.01 2018 pmsl

  • Tsunki

    Dec 31, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #28

    Jarra Mick – “Difference today was palace were defending a point, we were defending a 1-0 deficit”

    😀 😀 😀

    If anyone ever wanted to display to the entire planet they didn’t see the man city game OR know what they are talking about , you accomplished it magnificently . Bravo, Sir.

  • Nufc 4ever

    Dec 31, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #29

    Before i comment would like to wish most on here happy new year. My wish hopefully will happen in early Jan.
    If we are not taken over it would not bother me to be back in championship we are unable to compete in premier as long as fatman is in charge. I dont want to watch another season of 6 wins. I watch my team home and away and fighting with one arm behind our back not good viewing.
    We could not get a better manager in our state than Rafa so dont even go there he bought a championship side and won it he was not allowed to buy a premiership side so we are what we are a championship side in the premier. If we go down i will still be there and we start winning it gets rid of Blademouth scratchy from sweden Bimbo etc so cant be all bad . So have a good one

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 31, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #30


    could that be caused by an over cautious style of play.
    could it also be caused by being singled out for making a mistake.
    speak out and you get out on the naughty step with Mitro, Saviet, Mbemba,Gamaz, pirlo

  • jarra mick

    Dec 31, 2017 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #31

    If you’re happy with these negative tactics tsunki then that’s up to you. I think it’s terrible to watch and he’s taking us down. He’s a dinosaur like mourinho

  • scott

    Dec 31, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #32

    Blade runner

    Just to clarify do you want Hibbit out the blog or out the Denton??

  • Jib

    Dec 31, 2017 at 7:13 PM

    Comment #33
  • Essex Geordie

    Dec 31, 2017 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #34

    Hi fellow bloggers Happy New Year all. My wishes for 2018 is Ashley sells and is never seen on this planet again. I can but hope. My take on the relegation fight is that currently we are 6th in the league table of 10. This current group of players has more fight and determination that the previous 2015/6 team and we have a world class manager at the helm. I think we will survive and I hope we get the decent striker in January. HWTL.


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