The Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is again hoping the Newcastle crowd can support the lads tomorrow and create a great atmosphere at St. James’ Park.
We have one of the best grounds in the country and the best fans in England, so the fact that we haven’t won a game since back on October 21st against Crystal Palace is shocking.
It’s also a significant reason we are now just one point above the drop zone.
Rafa has been training hard with the players this week, and we could see all three loan players – winger Kenedy, striker Slimani, and goalkeeper Dubravka start this game.
Mr. Benitez knows what the atmosphere has been like at Newcastle in days gone by.
Rafa Benitez – wants a good atmosphere tomorrow at St. James’ Park
This is what Rafa has said in a lengthy interview, as reported in the Chronicle today:
“Hopefully it will be like that again.” “If we can create this type of pressure from the beginning and have an atmosphere it has to be a positive for us.”
“The only thing is we have to be sure we don’t lose our heads because we are too open because they will punish you on the counter-attack.”
“But if we can keep the atmosphere hot it will create pressure for them.”
“We want to be on top of them and be on the front-foot from the beginning that will be fantastic.”
“We have seen our team playing against the top sides like Chelsea and Manchester United, scoring early and before them.”
“We have been competing but not having enough to hold on to the result.” “So we have to learn to do that.”
“If we start with a high tempo, push, and score a goal we need to keep doing it.”
“People think when we score a goal we are then defending, no we are not defending – it is the opponents who then come at us and attack.”
“If we try to continue going forward in the same way you scored the opening goal it will be hard and Crystal Palace last weekend is a great example.”
“We scored, then they changed Wilfried Zaha to the left and put James McArthur in the middle.” “That meant we had more problems to manage.”
“They sent their full-backs forward and they were attacking us even more so we had to defend.”
For us, it’s always the same – if we can control the game and attack we will do it.” “But if we can’t we have to control the game in another way.”
“It’s easier to be strong in defense than be too open in attack because when you are too open against a team like Man United who have so much pace they can kill you in games.”
“The other day against Huddersfield when Pogba came on the pitch and made a pass that led to a penalty which made it 2-0 for them.”
“After that, it was all about Rashford and Martial who made the difference with the pace that they have.”
“It’s easy to analyze the stats.” “The reality though is that every game is different so it’s not the same as playing Newcastle United as three years ago.”
“You can put the stats the way you want, but there’s nothing you can do now because of stats from the past.”
“We’re playing against a top side, who are second and have just signed Alexis Sanchez in the transfer window.”
“They’re very strong but we have to manage the atmosphere and the anxiety.”
The game will be tough for us – but we have to start winning some of the three home games left against top-six opposition; maybe we can do that tomorrow?