Rafa Explains Strange Choices Yesterday – And What Happened To Lascelles

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.

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23 comments so far

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:04 AM

    Comment #1


    I remember Gazza at Italia 90, best player there by a mile.. I’d always choose Pedro though, his all round game, awareness and ability to bring others into the game.

    I’ve watched Messi loads and always wonder how good Beardsley would have been if he was afforded the protection players get in the modern game. He got kicked to bits every match!!

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #2

    The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it outta

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #3

    Strange that Benitez likes to protect players, however Lascelles was clearly injured before kick off, so why did he leave him in?
    He then complained after the match that he was unable to make tactical changes because he had needed to sub Jamaal @ half time!

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #4

    Rafa would sell Shearer, doesn’t fit into his style.
    Albert Luque would be the first name on the team sheet. Gotta give the old Spanish boys a pass regardless of how sh*te they are

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #5


    No doubt Lasscelles made out it was less serious than it was. As you said he likes to protect his players, unless you’re suggesting he sabotaged the game and made Lasscelles play with a injury.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #6


    Beardsley is my all time fave player, I know exactly what he could do, he worked hard in every position he played at/in chased everything, but his best position was right beside the no 9.

    Yesterday was so embarrassing having Perez as no10, 16 touches of the ball in 90 mins. beardsley would had 16 touches i. the first 20 mins,

    Rafa is putting players out on the pitch that actually hide from the ball, Murphy never seems to want it, and not does Perez, Murphy had 23 touches. I don’t think Joselu is good enough, but at least i can see it’s not all his fault, we play so far away from him, it seems every pass to him is a long punt from defence or a hollywood ball across the pitch.

    poor coaching

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #7

    People complain about Ashley asset stripping the club, Rafa has talent stripped the team.
    His scouting wish list goes like this

    1. Speak Spanish and run around a lot
    2. Speak Spanish
    3. Run around a lot

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #8


    Sell Shearer, haha, dream on.

    The Shearer we bought from Blackburn would have been the first on Rafas team sheet!

    Maybe at the end of his career after 2 huge injury and all the seasons before taking a tole he may consider selling him.

    Your statement made me spit my tea out, simply ridiculous!

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #9

    I’m quite sure that last earlie that I did suggest the type of Manager i would be looking for,

    I would also like to point out again and again and again, I really don’t have any real problem that I have suggested both Shteve or Ole Gunner n the past. at the time there seemed to be A wage cap of about a million pound, so trying to look for someone with experience of winning that fit Mikes wages wasn’t exactly easy, but now that Mike has busted that wide open with 6 million a year, you have the choice of a loaf of very good managers.

    the sad part is pricks in here only seem to want managers that have premiership experience, and continue to throw out names like pardew, Before Rafa came, not one person in here said, i know, That Rafa would be great here, for 2 reasons. 1 he would be to expensive. 2 he wouldn’t work with Ashley. Yet here we go, look who Ashley appointed.

    Did I mock anyone? no I actually thought what a great choice, But like everything I am allowed to change my mind, Do i think he is a bad manager? NO, but he needs rolls royce players to get the best out of him, something he will never have at NUFC, he worked in the championship because he had the rolls royce players for THAT league. in the Prem, he is wasted with us, it’s like trying to compete in heavyweight boxing when your only a featherweight, and you have the very best trainer in the world, its just not going to happen, no matter what.

    I don’t want a manager that solely plays this 4231, or that has a back plan of 9-1- then 1. Rafa embarrasses himself when we play like that, because it shows he has no other ideas.

    mentality wise, it’s not good for the players too, they hear that in post match comments, “my players gave great effort” “If i had better players” i’m sure those players are sitting there thinking i’m glad i’m playing for Rafa, he really knows how to really slate me.

    We are Rafas last Big club, he may earn more money at his next job, but he will never work for a team in the top6 in the prem again. He had his Day, and now like Jose it’s gone. that defensive style is gone too.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #10

    Waddle was a joy to watch as well in Italia 90. I only seen his later years, Sheff Wed, Marseille etc but both those teams overachieved while he was there. Beardsley would be my second choice after Gazza. Then Ben Arfa/ Ginola tied. I think Ben Arfa would have destroyed teams back in the 90s.Defences were clueless back then.

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #11


    Lascelles could clearly be seen to be in pain with it before the game started. It was pretty clear that the injury would impede his game and that it was unlikely he would last 90 mins. He had already decided to throw the game with a horrible starting line up, so why not drop the captain as well so he doesn’t aggravate it further.
    If anything I’m saying it’s out of character for him but clearly then impeded what he was able to do with subs in the second half. Then moaned about it as if it was unexpected!

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #12


    he tried his best to get rid of Stevie G too. he asked to to think about going chelsea.
    imagine actively trying to sell your best player to a rival.

    read that in Stevie G’s book.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #13


    i want klopp, I want Pep, I want Pochitino.

    i know, you want Paerdew or curbishly, because life is so depressing.

    why would you back a political person who is fleecing the people?wow lowest of the low.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #14


    I’m no fan of Perez, I’ve been calling him since before Benitez arrived.

    A team is like a jigsaw, the pieces need to fit perfect to make the picture clear.

    Unfortunately Rafa is having to make pieces fit and even make his own pieces.

    If it was up to me there’s a few I wouldn’t want in the squad, the lack of options and quality is what’s hurtung us and making us look really poor.

    You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

    Complaining about the lack of touches from our front players suggests the midfield isn’t supply the fowards, no Shelvey no service.

    There’s a knock on effect all over the pitch, it’s not one that isn’t cutting it, it’s 4 or 5.

    The team that has played the last 6 isn’t our strongest and won’t be the side that plays the most games this year. I’ll wait half a dozen more games when Shelvey etc are back and they’ve played against more teams on their level before suggesting all hope is lost.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #15

    A Pain in the Blog we can all have our say on this blog rafa starting to make to many mistakes in team selection and tactics he my pull us out the shit for what for another season playing the same crap and hanging on again after 30 year of watching the toon i think i mad the rite choice in not renewing my season ticket and i will not be the last to do so if your willing to watch crap football carry on your choice at the end of the day.

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #16


    Yep, also tried to sell the hugely talented Xabi Alonso so that he could bring in the bang average Gareth Barry!

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #17

    I was sorry to see Murphy go off, would have preferred to see Kenedy replace Perez in the middle. We needed some creativity and drive in the centre of the pitch, rather than just relying on the below par flanks. Our goal and other best effort came from crosses but we could do with more from Perez.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #18


    No one knows the real situation with Steve G but I’ve seen plenty of players at club’s who have too much power and undermine the manager.

    There’s only one boss, everyone knows Rafa wants his players to follow his instructions.

    Ask yourself this, Liverpool did nothing special in Steeve G time there a few cups, why if Chelsea Man u and a few of the top European clubs came in for him why didn’t he go.

    He could have won loads and been at a top top club, he wanted to be the biggest fish in his pond!

  • posada

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #19

    Yesterday I was not looking forward to the game. After ten minutes I just wanted it over so I could go home. First time I have ever felt like that.
    What’s happened since April when we played so well at Leicester.
    I’ll tell you.
    Ashley has killed us. The supporters, the players and probably the manager.

    How. With any club there has to be this hope that you will get better. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won’t, but at least there is that hope.
    There is nothing now. Just a repeat of the same. Every time we seem to be making progress he kills it.

  • kimbo

    Sep 16, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #20

    Rafa how about right footer on the right wing and a left footer on the left wing , just seen Fernandez cross on MOD.

  • geordiesteve520

    Sep 16, 2018 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #21

    On the Stevie G debate, SAF wrote in his autobiography that he was one of the few who thought he was not a top, top player and that whenever he came up against someone to rival him: Keane/Scholes, Vieria/Silva/Edu etc he crumbled and didn’t get a look in. Interesting how views can be so polarised…

  • Toon&oot

    Sep 16, 2018 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #22

    It’s the fans that put Rafa on a pedastl. Yesterday’s selections were strange especially Hayden after he clearly didn’t fancy it when he got sent off. Too many players don’t put in a full shift such as Perez and Murphy. Our squad is thread bare anyway to carry passengers. Granted Ashley’s lack of finance is a major factor but I think Rafa has made some big mistakes in selection over the last few games. Given our current situation I still think he’s the best man for the job. Ashley might start to think otherwise.

  • Sav

    Sep 18, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #23

    Make a stand. Next televised home match, fans need to stand together outside SJP for 11 minutes, one for each year of Ashley ownership making as much noise as possible. Make a statement. Make him sell.
    Of course he can reduce the price. He has already banked the club’s revenue and transfer profit. Whoever were to take over our club will be left with half a squad when the loans end and a major job just to field a decent team next year. Don’t be fooled if he opens his wallet to Rafa in January in a bid to survive. Whatever it may be, it is too little too late. Ashley out.


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