Rafa – We Are Improving – But This Team Needs To Get Points

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles avoided a late red card yesterday when the referee Graham Scott
did not think he denied Mohamed Salah a goal-scoring opportunity.

We’ll take that bit of luck otherwise one of our best players would have been out of the crucial game at home to Southampton next Saturday afternoon.

The Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp thought it was a clear penalty although Rafa did not agree.

Jamaal Lascelles chases down Mo Salah 

Here’s what Rafa said about the incident and he also freely admits his side has to pick up points quickly:

“Watching from the bench, maybe,” “Watching the reply, it was not very clear.”

“The referee maybe had the same opinion, that it wasn’t very clear. Watching the replay, both situations were not very clear.”

“We were playing against a dangerous team,” “We know they have the pace up front. We managed  for 40 minutes then it was a mistake.”

“We had to go for it in the second half and were then more open. You have to keep the balance to be stronger in the defense and create chances in attack.”

“We are learning, but we are still making mistakes against teams. We are improving, but this team has to get points.”

Newcastle are still just a couple of points above of the relegation zone, with Crystal Palace still to play: they are at home to Manchester United on Monday night.

It looks like this relegation fight could go down to the final game of the season – we are at home to Chelsea in that game.

Here are the current standings.

11Crystal Palace38-1044
13West Ham38-2042

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Comments welcome.

65 comments so far

  • kimbo

    Mar 4, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #1

    Sorry Rafa we are not improving if we are not winning games. So we only get beat 2 -0 without trying to score is an improvement?

  • kimbo

    Mar 4, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #2

    Goal difference of -100 is worse than having 1 additional point from being more offensive.

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #3

    If we win at home against Southampton, Huddersfield and West Brom, will we be awarded 18 points?!

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #4

    The season is far from over, two wins and we could leap up the table. We also have to play Watford and Arsenal away who are not in great form and will get more and more nervous trying to break us down. Yesterday was a worry as we showed very little ability to control the ball, pass or cross accurately and that was our 12th game where we have not scored this season.

  • L Toon

    Mar 4, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #5

    Can’t really complain, don’t think any of us expected to get anything at all. Players huffed and puffed and gave there all as usual, but we just didnt look like scoring in a month of sundays. A real sad indictment as to where the odius one has taken us as as a club and the real depressing thought but for a 20 mill spend on good centre forward we could be sat on 40 + points now in 7th position. Next week is absolutely the biggest game in the clubs history, win it and other results go our way and we have one foot in the premier league next season. If that were to occur southampton, stoke and palace will not all get more than 36 points, so i think just another 4 points after that could do it. But beating southampton, huddersfield and west brom will seal it.

  • ShirebrookToon

    Mar 4, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #6

    Hopefully Slimani is fit for next weekend. Need some teeth upfront.

    Yesterday was just one of those days. On the back foot from the off and too lightweight up top. Had we had Mitro to call upon, could have been different result

  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 4, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #7

    No shock yesterday, would have had to have been something special to beat this current Liverpool team.

    Only disappointment was the lack of attacking threat toward the end of the game. Don’t mind Rafa keeping things tight but need to attack the last 10 when 2-0 down.

    Also the team isn’t as bad as people make out. You can’t tell me sides like Burnley, Bournemouth, West Brom, Stoke, etc have significantly better players than us. The odd one but in general the bottom 10/12 clubs aren’t full of quality.

  • Geordie-john

    Mar 4, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #8

    Take a good hard look Ashley !
    This is what happens when you don’t give a bloody good manager like RAFA the funds that he needs to improve a VERY depleted squad. £20M for a decent striker wasn’t a lot to ask for. This addition would have improved every player in the team without too much pressure like they are all having to endure from now on.
    Every year you drained the profits from our club for one reason or another. You cannot treat a very well supported club like Newcastle like you have done with your chain of sweat shops . You need to sell or vastly improve or this will kick you VERY hard straight in the bollocks and I feel that this could be just around the corner should we get relegated AGAIN under your ownership.

  • toonincheek

    Mar 4, 2018 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #9

    Can’t see this season being about anything but the next two games.

    Two wins, and we are capable of that, and we are looking good-
    smelling of roses.

    Anything less than two wins and we are in poo creek with two
    plastic spoons for paddles.

    Wishin’ Hopin’ Prayin’ we’ll stay up.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #10

    At the risk of being castigated for flogging a dead horse, does anyone know how many yellow cards Mitro has had with Fulham, only asking??

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #11

    Yep our season starts next Saturday at 3pm!!

  • Jib

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #12

    he has one yellow

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #13


    Hmmm, not quite the point I was trying to make but I think the Fulham fans and their manager will happily live with that.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #14

    I said that I’d be reasonably happy with getting away with a 1-0 defeat and even 2-0 isn’t a disaster, roll on Saturday!

  • martoon

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #15

    Anybody know why in IE11 comments are now appearing in a thin column on the Right Hand Side instead of at the bottom of the page?

  • Bobbybee

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #16

    What a goal from Arma, six minutes in. Typical of his goals. Starts his run in his own half, leaves his marker for dead. Picks up the pass about 25 yards out and just smashes it into the corner. Get in.

  • magscar

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #17

    On a slow Sunday ( everybody surely can’t be out in that miserable weather) a snippet fom the always excellent NUFC.com on Daglish ( 67 today) showing nothing is new in our world ( just sometimes worse) 2 goal leads blown , poor signings and transfer decisons, defensive displays still leading to defeat ……

    “His first league game in charge saw United take a two-goal lead at Southampton, only to concede two late goals and draw.

    Taking over a Keegan side who lay in fourth, he ended up with a second-placed finish that year, leading United into the Champions League the following season as a result.

    However, the pre-season loss of Alan Shearer to injury coupled with the sale of Les Ferdinand to satisfy PLC demands was to undermine Kenny’s progress.

    While the Tino Asprilla-inspired home victory over Barcelona is well-remembered, a “Dads Army” transfer policy that brought in John Barnes, Ian Rush & Stuart Pearce was less welcome.

    And when Kenny did move to address the problem by spending money, he came back with Andreas bloody Andersson – the pick of over 100 strikers he’d had scouted.

    Despite all this, his team made it through to the FA Cup Final- and a public spat with opponents Stevenage that famously led Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman to enquire “is Kenny Dalglish a big girls’ blouse?”

    Had he won silverware then the flirtation with relegation and 13th-placed finish would have been forgotten and Geordie hero status bestowed.

    Employing a defensive formation at Wembley against Arsenal however was poorly received, overlooking Steve Watson and only belatedly moving to bolster his attack when going 0-2 down.

    Regardless of that though, he was allowed to embark on a squad overhaul that saw the arrivals of George Georgiadis, Lionel Perez, Stephane Guivarc’h, Carl Serrant, Garry Brady, Laurent Charvet, Didi Hamann and Nobby Solano – a mixed bag indeed.

    Hints of behind the scenes discord came at a weekend pre-season tournament at the smoggies, when Kenny reacted angrily to press claims that Newcastle were in the process of selling Keith Gillespie to Boro.

    Within a couple of weeks Dalglish was gone, after an opening day 0-0 draw at SJP with Charlton (with Barnes appearing as a half time sub but lasting less than 25 minutes) was followed by a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

    Sacked by United after the board were alarmed by crowd grumbles and seduced by the lure of Ruud Gullit, by rights Dalglish should have been perfect for SJP: marrying the swashbuckling of KK’s side with some defensive steel and common sense.

    Unfortunately it didn’t manifest itself in that way and the positive work Kenny did on Tyneside – restoring the reserve side and signing messrs Tomasson, Dabizas, Speed & Solano – was only evident after he’d exited.”

    Just another of our failures – how I used to hate finishing 2cnd!

    Hope Biffa and Niall don’t mind 🙂

  • OneAlanShearer

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #18

    For Liverpool at times were the best team we have played. Yes better than city. In that they had clearly worked on tackling our style rather than just playing their own game.
    Losing was expected.
    Now that is out of the way every game is one we Can Get a result from.
    Shelvey being out is why we didn’t have the forward momentum of other games bringing attackers into it.
    He is vital to us staying up.
    The lads played well but we were up against mane and salah for pity sake. That won’t happen again this season.
    It’s done. We have to now play every game like our lives depend on it and throw everything at defending and attacking as one. We can stay up. I wholeheartedly believe in this set of players and rafa.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #19

    Looked like a clear cut foul on MOTD but the linesman didn’t flag for a foul and the ref did look towards him to check it out, so I think we perhaps got a little bit of payback from lady luck on the many bad calls we’ve had from refs this season.

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #20

    Can’t help but detect an air of pessimism on the blog today. Yesterdays result didn’t change anything so not sure why so much doom and gloom. Even if we don’t get 6 points from Saints and Hudds we should have enough to avoid the drop given our run–in. Does anyone imagine Rafa is any more stressed today than yesterday morning when contemplating his cornflakes? No, me neither


  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #21

    Essex Geordie Bill

    I can make the point for you regarding Mitro…..potentially he is playing in a side that suits his style of play and he is a lot happier playing for Fulham, rather than ploughing a lonely furrow up front for us. Getting frustraded, battling defenders on his own, not getting many chances to score and consequently getting carded for foul play.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #22


    Yep he aint quite the bad boy he was supposed to be, that’s basically what I was saying.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #23

    Just caught up with the recording of the England/NZ match, blimey what a finish!

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #24

    Are these fair questions of rafa?

    1. We may be crap but we don’t attack enough
    2. Dumping mitro was foolhardy in the absence of alternatives. If the answer was joselu what was the question .
    3. Surely mitro wud have scared the wits out of that Liverpool defence?

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #25

    And I see that the Falcons are up to 3rd in the premier league.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #26

    Bus pass ready!!

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #27

    It seems that most posters are of the opinion that we will win our next three home games and it is these games that will decide our fate. I disagree.

    Southampton are down with us at the foot of the table because their home form is poor – draws against Stoke, Brighton and Spurs and a loss against Liverpool (same scoreline as us, 2-0) were their last four results. However, their recent away form is impressive – draws at Burnley, Watford and Man Utd and a win against West Brom. Our last four home matches have been draws against Burnley, Swansea and Brighton and that anomalous win against Man Utd.

    Their away form and our home form point to the likelihood of a 1-1 draw next week – not the win that most posters seem to be expecting.

    We should, however, comfortably beat Huddersfield and West Brom and that would leave us on 36 points. We should also get a point at Goodison and we might just nick one at Vicarage Road. On current form we could even get a draw at home against Arsenal. That’s 39 points – almost certainly enough to stay up.

    I’m not all doom and gloom. I still think that there will be at least three teams below us at the end.

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #28

    Munster Mag

    Do you believe Mitro would have got more than the 16 touches and 1 shot that Gayle managed, if so how? The defenders can hardly be worried about a red carded player (based on past experience). I am not fussed either way because reality is he is not playing for us.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #29

    Rob I think the pessimism is because we fear we won’t score more than 1 v Southampton and that might only get us a draw.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #30

    Lindisfarne, I don’t care re 16 touches. One header from one cross against that Liverpool reargaurd….or he cud have scared flimsy arsenal…but why did we have to dump him. Is was not as though we were offered say 20mill for him.

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #31

    A Pain in the Blog

    Southampton game is potentially one of those where the home crowd will expect us to win and be uptight when they perceive that we are struggling to break them down.

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #32


    We had 3 corners with only one successful. My point being the lack of service and Mitros eventual frustration getting the better of himself.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #33

    Pain…I don’t think we cud have matched southhamptons recent away form but let’s just hope the players tear into them and get the crowd involved. Rafa is awfully cautious at home ( even in the championship at times) and we need more. I can see Southampton keeping the ball to deaden the crowd . Tactically rafa and the players can’t allow that to happen.

  • dig-n-dig22

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #34

    We got off lightly at Liverpool “Live with it” If you take Man City,Liverpool out of our last 9 or 10 results, I think we are unbeaten, considering we are a Championship side, we have performed a lot better than of some of the Prem sides at Anfield/sarc

  • toonincheek

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #35

    Really cannot see how Lascelles was not given
    AT LEAST a yellow – have to count that as a
    lucky break for us.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #36

    Dig, some analysis of clubs recently had nufc down as 13th best squad in league. It does seem a bit generous though. That said it wud be easy to argue that lascelles, dupravka, merino, dummett, shelvey, Lejeune, and possibly atsu and Ritchie are prem level players?

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #37

    Mitro is doing great at Fulham…good for him! A good thing we got this Slimani fella from Leicester who were making a big name for himself there…

  • Toon XI

    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #38

    I don’t believe our season will be decided in the next few matches. Unfortunately I believe it has already been decided. We’ve dropped too many points in matches we should have won. Poor home form will ultimately be our undoing. Wishing for us to stay up but accepting the high probability that this squad will not get the job done during the run in. My expectations are relegation but hoping I’m wrong. And yes, my believe has nothing to do with yesterday’s result as I fully expected to get zero points. Frustrating days these are.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #39

    It seems Hayden was the best thing Newcastle yesterday…that was a hard watch on so many front (especially thinking what’s to come)

  • dig-n-dig22

    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #40

    Roblino #20
    We must take full advantage of our next 2 home games, 2 wins will relieve 95% of the pressure of relegation, what more could we ask for? We need to show the same determination as we showed against Man U and we will be fine, I also don’ like Rafa saying he thinks it will go to the very end, it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence so how much must it effect the players.


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