Rafa Benitez made a strange selection choice yesterday when he preferred Isaac Hayden to the fit-again Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield.
And Jacob Murphy was preferred to Kenedy on the left wing so two of our best player earlier this year were on the bench yesterday.
It so happened that both Shelvey and Kenedy were not fully fit, but the Brazilian got a run-out in the second half.
And then we had noticed Jamaal Lascelles limping early on in the game, and he had to go off and was replaced by Ciaran Clark.
The captain had injured his knee in the warm-up.
Jamaal Lascelles – had to go off in the first half with a knee problem
Rafa explained after the game what happened and his odd selection choice:
“Lascelles twisted his ankle in the warm-up. We’ll see – the doctor said to check in a couple of days.”
“We had five decisions to take. Ritchie was fine, Jonjo was not fully fit and Kenedy was not fully fit either.”
“Rondon and Yedlin came back late and we didn’t want to take the risk with both of them.”
“Joselu was doing well in the week so we thought it would be fine.”
Hayden, coming back with energy and desire, we thought he would be fine.”
What we didn’t like yesterday is how Newcastle were beaten once that first goal went in – they wilted badly.
We cannot have that happen again and when we go behind the lads have to put up a good fight – that didn’t happen yesterday.
Hopefully, Jamaal will be fit for the game at Crystal Palace next Saturday afternoon and so will Shelvey and Kenedy.
We need all three players in the side and a win in that game is what we need.