It was Newcastle’s first defeat of 2018, but the gulf in class between league leaders Manchester City and Newcastle showed through at the Etihad yesterday.
We thought the lads did well and Manchester City were helped by the referee when he gave a dodgy penalty in the second half.
It was that man Sterling again who has a habit of falling down in the penalty area when anybody gets near him, and in this case, it was Manquillo.
But there were some bright sports for Newcastle with Jacob Murphy looking the player in the second half we thought we had signed last summer.
Rafa Benitez and Pep Guardiola – before the game
He scored an excellent breakaway goal and troubled the City defense in that second half.
That was his first goal for Newcastle and maybe we can sign his twin brother Josh in the summer?
And the defense played well, and there were some excellent performances.
Karl Darlow kept the score down with some good saves and Paul Dummett – who has his critics – is showing what a valuable player he can be to Newcastle since he returned.
After the game Rafa was philosophical and had this to say:
“I think that we wanted to stay in the game and we did it,” “The penalty was a bit soft, and it changed everything.”
“After we scored, we had a couple of chances. They are a very good team, our reaction was quite good.”
“We changed at the end and played with four at the back. The idea was to stay solid and try to regain and play counter-attack.”
“At the beginning, we were giving the ball away easily. To find the balance between defending and attacking is what we were trying to do.”
“I have been praising the players the whole season in terms of effort … sometimes it’s a bit of luck.”
“If you have a little bit of luck, you can be ahead in some games.”
Newcastle are now only 2 points above the drop zone, but two of the bottom three clubs – Swansea and Southampton – still have to play their games.
We continue to live in hope that we can get players in this month and Rafa can save us from another relegation.