Rafa Positive About Survival – We Need To Do Our Jobs

Dwight Gayle could have won the match at the death against Royal Antwerp, but his penalty kick was saved by the goalkeeper.

So it was a 1-1 draw in the game, but Rafa Benitez seemed to be pleased he got what he wanted out of the friendly.

One thing he wanted to see was intensity from the players which will be needed when we host Huddersfield Town on March 31st at St. James’ Park.

A win in that game could take us 3 points closer to safety, and it would be 3 wins in our last five games if we can do that.

Rafa Benitez – talks to his players during 4-day training camp

It would also be only the second time this season we have two wins on the trot.

Rafa was pleased with how the players played the game yesterday although we again missed too many chances by all accounts from those at the game.

Rafa was asked about Gayle’s penalty miss as reported in the Chronicle today:

“I said to Dwight that these things happen sometimes, especially in a friendly, because you can be a little bit more relaxed.”

“It doesn’t change too much in terms of what we were looking for.”

“We had the intensity that we wanted in this game.”

“We watched the games yesterday and analyzed the results.”

“The positive thing now is that it depends on us.”  “If we do our job we’re in a good position.”

“We need to win our games and it will easier.”

That last sentence is so accurate – wins are what will take us away from the bottom three.

Here’s how we stand after the weekend’s results in the Premier League – we are now 4 points above the drop zone.

11Crystal Palace38-1044
13West Ham38-2042

And we have an excellent goal difference in comparison to the other clubs in the bottom half of the league.

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Comments welcome.

35 comments so far

  • Rotonda heights

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #1

    Not saying it is because of ”Beardogate” and that any of them would have made it, but it’s very disappointing to have lost Gibson and now M-Hanni and Mackenzie. Dawson does, however, seem to be doing quite well in Beardo’s absense.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #2

    I would very much doubt that Gayle was “too” relaxed taking that pen. I reckon he was sh!tting himself in case he missed it!

    Regarding Rafa playing youngsters, I’d bet that once we look safe Fernandez will be in the match day squad.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #3

    Surprised to see so many voting NO with regards to signing Cairney.

    Although given the option of signing Forsberg or Cairney, I’d vote for Forsberg. 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #4

    A political footy question.

    Should we go to the World Cup?

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #5

    Right that’s my input for this morning.

  • Ron Knee

    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #6


    Yes, provided we leave early on in the competition!

  • bettyswallocks

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #7

    Jib posted earlier that Joey Barton reckons Amanda Staveley is still interested. This would make sense and explain why Rafa has remained patient and focused and is getting on with the job of securing our PL status.

    As I have already suggested she is more than likely waiting until we are officially safe in the PL so this is not an issue as Ashley was having none of the relegation clauses in any deal. Also don’t forget Rafa knows Amanda personally so she is probably keeping him updated.

  • Wayayman

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #8

    On Heaney:

    There’s an excellent book by Michael Calvin called No Hunger In Paradise which is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the English game. In it, he mentions an incredible stat that 98% of those taken on by academies at the age of 16 are NOT playing in the top 5 leagues of English football by their 21st birthday. That’s the top 4 pro leagues and the conference division. Amazing eh? These clubs (ours included) have such a tiny hit rate with lads that something has to be done by the FL and the FA to stop it. It’s ruining young lads lives, even Academies at the top are fielding teams based around one player that they think might be in wth a chance of making it, but as they obviously can’t play teams by themselves the clubs take on other kids (just bodies really) to make up the numbers. This is at all age groups.
    It’s to the detriment of the English game, because young kids playing at academies from 9 onwards are not allowed to play for their local grassroots teams or their schools in most cases. The game becomes about playing in pressure situations, not for fun with their mates and then so many of them who are discarded (brutally, at any age in most cases) fall out of love with football and stop playing.

    Highly recommend this book.

  • Nufc 4ever

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #9

    As great a player Beardsley was he was a disaster as a coach. You have to teach a winning mentality. I saw Heaney recently he looked like a Shakiri body double admitedly never seen enough of him he was only on as a late sub. That day Fernandez looked very promising and did not dissapoint yesterday. Charman may inprove but nobody else stood out. Barlaser played will not make it in my opinion cant even get a game on loan. The juniors need a shake up big time

  • lochinvar

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #10

    If the U23’s are second bottom of their league is there relegation from that League ?
    That would hardly be a motivation for the next batch of youngsters. Less opportunity against well known clubs, less opportunity to impress Rafa and watching Scouts and Beardsley still in charge.

    Can only think that Rafa has some reorganisation in kind within his master plan.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #11

    I thought there was a massive improvement in the U23’s after Rafa turned up, did they not just miss out on promotion last year.

  • Jib

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #12

    Best newspaper footy headline prize goes this morning
    to the Metro:-

    United future uncertain after
    Shaw shanks redemption bid

  • DubaiMicky

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #13

    Hey we’re getting taken over by Floyd Mayweather and he’s sending his mate Christiano Ronaldo to play for us don’t you know?

    It must be true, it was on page 13 of the Star on Sunday (part of Express Group).

  • lesh

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #14


    Like Ron, I believe England should go to the World Cup. As one of key players in the world game, England’s be a huge miss if Southgate contrived an early exit which would render the competition pointless and give the likes of Brazil and Germany a chance of winning it.


  • Oldgit1

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #15

    Think I will take the Itk tag as my reporting Floyd Mayweathet has an interest in being involved with NUFC and joining a consortium is now being reported by the chronicle.
    I know you will be wondering where I get my info. I could do a online guy and say I met him in a pub playing a guitar, nope, I could say I met him at a gardening fair judging leeks.nope.

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #16


    In that case you must surely have been on the airwaves chatting to Mayweather himself.

  • Jib

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #17
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #18


    My guess is that you are Floyd Mayweather! 🙂

  • Oldgit1

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #19

    Jib is closer to the mark.

  • Oldgit1

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #20

    And pain in the blog

  • Jib

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #21
  • martoon

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #22

    Jib @12 – Lol that really is a clever headline.
    Wayayman @8 – From my experiences of taking my lad to junior football I would say that is very true. A lot of the parents there thought their son was going to be the next Shearer and you wondered if that affected their attitude to their lad’s education! I like to think I was more of a realist and thought at best my lad could maybe play for Gateshead or Spennymoor but needless to say he never made it.
    A few of his team mates were picked up by academies and he is still in touch with them on Social Media and none of them made it. Funnily enough the only lad he played with who has made it is George Honeyman of the makems but my lad actually played on the same Cricket team as him not football 😀

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #23

    It’s being reported but scorned at.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #24

    I’ve always felt uneasy about very young kids being signed by the big clubs, I’d have thought 15 or 16 would be a better age with the bulk of their education behind them and their physical development being more at what they what they will become.

    It’s a case I believe that the big clubs are frightened they will miss out on the next Messi and to use a fishing analogy, trawling with a fine mesh net to harvest anyone with a hint of talent and then chucking them back into the sea once they have found the only one worth keeping. A total waste of kids time and hopes.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #25


    Aah, shame it’s not my guess, reckon you might make a good owner. 🙂

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #26

    Is it safe? Is Rupert still nodding on his Magic Bus?

    Staveley was always likely to come back when relegation threats started to go away. Ashley’s spitting his dummy out was only ever likely to be because she wasn’t playing ball at the time and agreeing to a deal with no relegation clause. I doubt anything will be announced until relegation is a dim and distant concern.

  • Oldgit1

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #27

    @ jail for Ashley = I know, buts got to be better than gardening tips. He does love to party and he really does like the north east and the night clubs.

    Jib, We are often taken as brothers.
    He is a better dancer though.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #28

    I asked this yesterday, but does anyone know who the really fat bloke was who was wandering towards the players at the end of the game. He was wearing what I thought might be a club tracksuit along with two or three other similarly dressed. Is he on the coaching staff?

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #29

    Bill, I agree about kids being taken on by big clubs. There are plenty of decent local clubs who can do a good job of bringing young talent on. The focus should be on improving the coaches at Wallsend Boys club, North Shields or anywhere that has a good reputation for developing good young players and ensuring that NUFC’s youth team get along to watch their matches and check on their progress regularly. It will take a strong stance from UEFA / FIFA to make that happen though.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #30


    Speaking of buses, this one is probably gonna leave soon, bus pass at the ready! 🙂

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #31

    Jib, I saw that headline this morning. Made me chuckle to myself on the Metro – got me some very funny looks…

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #32

    A hint to anyone trying to use Geordie speak on the blog.

    The English:
    If you are going to try and write Geordie dialogue I’d suggest that you use the Geordie to English dictionary.
    It’s easy enough to find on Google.

    The Geordie:
    If yee are gunna try an write Geordie dialogue I’d suggest tha yee use the Geordie te English dictionary.
    It’s easy enough te find on Google.

    Saves a lot of time and effort as well. 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #33


    Comment 14.

    So you think we should give the no-hoper’s a chance.

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #34

    Go on then Oldgit. Are you going to divulge how you came by this gem (even if some have taken to scorning)?

    Or as our latest ITK are you going to protect your source?

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 19, 2018 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #35

    Nufc4Ever, I saw Barlaser and Jamie Sterry playing against Forest in the League Cup. Neither looked good enough to me, but hopefully the lads who went to Spain will do so. Fernandez looks decent, the goalie Harker is my neighbour’s nephew, so they’re really excited.


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