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Rafa Reveals Why It’s Easy For Him To Make Changes

Rafa Benitez is still testing some players and giving them games as he tries to work out who are his key players this season and who to play where during a time of two games a week.

We still have four games to play through August 27th (13 days) starting at home to Reading on Wednesday night.

rafa benitez huddersfield

Rafa Benitez in the sidelines on Saturday

We still haven’t seen Jesus Gamez or Ciaran Clark make a competitive appearance this season, so maybe they will be involved on Wednesday night when we can hopefully get our first win of the season.

That would be very good and Newcastle certainly need a win very quickly to lift the confidence of the players.

This is what Rafa said when he was asked if he was thinking of making changes for Wednesday night’s home game:

“Yeah, I think that the players have to realise that we have to compete,” 

“We have a big squad and we have to compete and be ready for what we know that is a very demanding competition, with us having two games a week.”

“We train in a way that everyone knows what they have to do, so it’s a lot easier to change players.”

“But against Huddersfield we were thinking about having better control on the ball, having more possession – we had this, but still it was not enough.”

“So if we have to make changes, we will make changes.”

Rafa conducts tactical sessions some afternoons when he goes through the various positions in the various formations Newcastle play in, so players know exactly what they have to do if they are playing in that specific position.

As Rafa says above, that makes it easy for him to make changes for each game and during the games.

Once the team can get that first win under their belts, we hope the confidence of the side rises significantly and the lads can then play a lot better than in the first two games.

Comments welcome.

35 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 14, 2016 at 11:52 PM

    Comment #1

    At the moment Gouffran or Riviere would maybe be better on the left forward role both give 100% and get stuck in although lack a bit of composure on goal but then so does everyone else in the squad !!

  • ShirebrookToon

    Aug 14, 2016 at 11:57 PM

    Comment #2


    totally agree with that mate. I’d play Goufran left and rivière up top as he can hold the ball up

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 15, 2016 at 12:01 AM

    Comment #3


    Yeah I just worry about Aarons and Perez they really need to toughen up and do the basics properly might be a confidence thing but they both seem to be struggling

  • Toon Tang

    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:12 AM

    Comment #4

    Get in muzza, class tennis that.

    Never seen a more knackered looking player than delpotro for about half of that match haha.

    Most golds In a day for gb that I think.

  • lesh

    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:40 AM

    Comment #5

    Wasn’t it only a few weeks ago that a lot of posters were calling for Gouffran and Riviere to be shipped out. That surely shows how desperate for good attacking options.

    And as far as Carr and Charnley’s buys are concerned, well, there’s questions to be answered. Not that we’ll even hear the questions.

  • Very Terry

    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:44 AM

    Comment #6

    Whatever happened to the minutes from the fans’ forum meeting? Did I miss them amongst all the rage?

  • asl123

    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:45 AM

    Comment #7

    We bought many, quantity but not quality. The project should be aiming for the PL comeback with read-built squad. Instead, our players are not even good enough in the championship.

  • brklyngeordie

    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:53 AM

    Comment #8

    I for one will not be one who panics Rafa is the same man who had us finish 6 games unbeaten to end the season in the Prem and that was after 4 games in charge already I believe…

    So the logic is it took him a few games to get used to the team as I imagine it will take this season as well because again it’s not the same team as last year..So no need to panic no one I believe is going to run away with this league honestly so let the new players get bedded in and Give Rafa a chance to figure it out #InRafaWeTrust

  • Very Terry

    Aug 15, 2016 at 2:41 AM

    Comment #9

    100% agree

    Ps when I first saw your username I guessed you must be a bricklayer then you mentioned you were posting from the US..

  • brklyngeordie

    Aug 15, 2016 at 2:54 AM

    Comment #10

    Very Terry

    Haha no just a roofer from Brooklyn New York U.S.A. but a Geordie at heart get many odd looks when I tell people I play with or speak footy to about that I’m a NUFC supporter, they just don’t understand HWTL!!!

  • Very Terry

    Aug 15, 2016 at 2:58 AM

    Comment #11

    You must be a masochist, but a masochist with style!
    We live in hope HWTL

  • brklyngeordie

    Aug 15, 2016 at 3:21 AM

    Comment #12

    Very Terry

    Don’t know about being a masochist lol but will take the style part, it wasn’t always painful supporting NUFC although last 7-8 years have been maybe more I forget but definitely feel very optimistic about direction we are going and with whom is leading the charge these last two games won’t change that for me…

    By the way loved the job the Gallowgate Flags did over the weekend looked as if SJP atmosphere has gone to another level which can only help us HWTL!!

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Aug 15, 2016 at 4:32 AM

    Comment #13

    Lee Carnley Bunga Party: That’s actually a reasonable suggestion based on our performances so far. But at the same time it’s a hugely damning indictment of where we find ourselves; the fact that it could even be considered. Our “list management” (to borrow a term from Australian Rules Football) has been completely unacceptable and is killing us.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 15, 2016 at 5:29 AM

    Comment #14

    Not convinced by the theories of the likes of Band B and Tsunki.
    . I prefer the pride and passion of a Bobby b a fan who would not have been one of those fans booing our players. Sorry Blackley it’s not all about you but the team..
    So last week was a wake up call and this week the time to panic? What !!

    For me as I said earlier of most concern is that we are not defending well which is a Benitez strength and I can see a defensive changes for Wednesday. Its a long season but we need a win on Wednesday to grow some confidence. Benitez is over thinking things, we should follow Norwich’s book and do the basics well and attack teams instead of making the match too tactical.

    Finally can Mr Tuff please stop forecasting us to win 3-1 as he has before both of our games. What we want is football fans with some football nous.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 15, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    Comment #15

    119SUTTY1978 // Aug 13, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Looking forward to next season, we’re going to absolutely boss league one.

    141ilovetoon8788 // Aug 13, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    I can’t wait for league one…

    187gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 13, 2016 at 3:58 PM

    4th is quite flattering tbh…..

    RAFA out ! We needed signings proper ones too not crap…we got crap…

    And many more.

    Manx, do you never tire of being wrong.

  • Santon03

    Aug 15, 2016 at 6:16 AM

    Comment #16

    no need to panic, there are still 44 games. 100 points still achievable.
    The lads still adjusting to different element of football from epl to championship. Elements like ref, style of football, tackles, etc.
    Even epl teams sometime having trouble against championship teams when they meet in cup games.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Aug 15, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Comment #17

    Ian Toon – what defensive changes would you make? I think many would welcome them, at least as a trial while we still have time on our side. Maybe Hayden at CB, Gamez or Clark at LB. Clutching at straws I know. Hayden arrived as a DM, Clark is a log, and we don’t really know the capabilities of the lad Jesus. What we do know is the formula so far looks flawed, so nothing ventured nothing gained.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 15, 2016 at 6:19 AM

    Comment #18

    Another overreaction from a loose cannon. It’s called irony!!
    -You would be better off questioning how a massive home crowd could be out sung by Huddersfield fans. It’s only the start of a long season – calm down dear!

    -How can our fans boo our own players? Many are settling into a new club( job) and need time to gel.

    What moron toon fan phoned up 606 to say how upset he was that we’d lost our first two games because he thought we’d go through the season unbeaten.


  • Thump

    Aug 15, 2016 at 6:55 AM

    Comment #19

    I’d actually agree with putting Rivvy up. He’s better in the air than Gayle is given that we’re missing any consistent attacking play down the middle.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:13 AM

    Comment #20

    Ian Toon@18 -Was that a response to my question at 17? It was a genuine question as it happens, and clearly the last time I’ll bother to attempt to engage you in a civil conversation. [note to self – classify as Jib quality poster] One parting remark. If you seriously think that all these sub-standard signings need is “time to gel”, I can only admire your optimism.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Comment #21

    The – Clearly it wasn’t, as a check of the time would indicate.
    I was going to respond on a break but your insult towards jib is out of order. If you read spasmodically, as I do you would appreciate his informative and punchy style. Each to his own but I form my own opinions.

  • Slank

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #22

    I don’t believe Gayle was ever bought to operate as a single striker. He strikes me as a Belamy type who thrives off a strong centre forward.

    In the absence of Mitrovich why not play Rivière with Gayle alongside in a 4-4-2 formation with Ritchie and Aarons on the wings.

    However, given that Rafa would appear to favour 4-2-3-1 when stick with Rivière but play Gayle, Sissoko and Ritchie as the three with Tiote and Diamé in midfield. In defence I would stick with Lascelles, Mbemba and Janmaat but try out Clark instead of Dummitt.

    It is very debatable whether we need two holding / defensive midfield players at home. We need points and sentiments about whether we should sell Rivière, Sissoko and Tiote are secondary to three points.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #23

    Ian Toon – Jib thrives on insults. He actively courts them. Part of his “punchy” style. I like to feed his addiction now and then.

  • giimps

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #24

    Did any of the streams for the match work on Saturday?
    I’m just wondering if Nufc-83 is still hunting down Jib 😉

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #25

    If we are going to play the same way as we did on Saturday – down both wings and floated crosses (hope not) we have got to play Riviere up top – at least he has got a bit of height and can jump/head the ball.

    On Saturday we floated ball after ball into the middle which was far to easy for Huddersfield to defend.

    I also ask why do we need two centre halves????
    and two holding midfield players at home

    Why not play with two full backs one centre half and one holding midfield player…..

    Janmaat, Mbemba, Dummet
    Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Sissoko
    Gayle, Riviere

  • BandB

    Aug 15, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    Comment #26


    There are two narratives here.

    One is mine, which backs Rafa and the team and points out that he has said himself that he works closely with Charnley every day on team affairs and recruitment. In this narrative we strengthen in key areas before the window closes to maximise our chances of promotion.

    The second narrative is the unsupported assertion that Rafa works alone on transfers and the insidious claim “the team is crap and it’s all Rafa’s fault.” It hints that Rafa can’t be trusted to sign anyone else before the window closes.

    I wonder which of these two groups is more likely to boo the team?

  • geordie157

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #27

    Riviere and Gouffran are probably more suited to the league than Perez.

    We need more of a physical presence in the side and with Aaron’s, Perez, Gayle, Anita, Hayden playing we are too easily brushed off the ball.

    Not saying those two are the answer but you stick one of those plus tiote in the side and we should be more competitive.

  • Jib

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #28

    The dangers of having a bad apple.
    M’Bemba is now making noises about not being happy in the Championship (he’s a Francophone – I wonder who gave him such ideas?) and Valencia are sniffing.

  • lochinvar

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #29

    Today’s papers rumour that Pardew wants to buy Andy Carroll from West Ham , doubt he’d be happy with that . Everton could move for Joe Hart which would stimmy a move away for Tim Krul who should stay put and play here behind a hopefully improved defence .

  • hibbitt

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #30

    BandB / Ian

    if only it was that easy
    big difference sitting watching a box then being in the ground were emotions are running high very easy to judge from a detached position criticizing the 50000 + other fans
    booing has always been part of the game its no different to a slow hand clap or the white hankies how else can we show are disapproval

  • BandB

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #31


    I was only responding to the inference by Ian that I would be booing the team.
    I’m not going to preach to anyone on booing. It’s for those who pay to go (which I don’t) to decide what they do.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #32

    BandB- We are in agreement and I won’t seek to dispute the choice of insidious over invidious. This is just the beginning of a devised programme an overhaul of years of neglect and the rebuilding of a club capable of progressing- rather than stagnating. In the short term there will be a few twists and turns as in any new venture. My overblown point is that positive change is not always immediately appreciated. I would suggest that the Hudd’fd game was a regression over the Fulham game. Not all of the fan base fully appreciate that it requires just pushing a button and have just bought into the hype. It is an opinion but Benitez has a hell of a lot to lose- failure is not an option. Ideally he would have liked to have kept the likes of Townshend , Sissoko, Tiote and Cisse. Pragmatism is called for – give and take.

    Benitez is still experimenting – some players settle quickly others don’t but in the longer run could make a more meaningful contribution. We are all learning from the experience of having a top draw manager who is certainly on board with the self sufficiency programme because the value is already being seen at Beardsley’s level – so I was told over the weekend.

    The question for me, is whether Benitez is being fully backed- I am not just talking about spending Ashley’s money!! Clearly perception is all important and PR does have a role. I can see a time when it will be undertaken by other than solely Benitez.. I also personally value Charnley’s contribution and see him working with Benitez rather than being part of any subplot.

    Alignment of opinions often gives a misrepresented personal view.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 15, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #33

    hibbitt- I was a season ticket holder either side of uni and before I went to London to work . I watch as many games live away as I can and the occasional at SJP . I have never booed my own side or individual players. It has already made us a laughing stock- from Winning the Championship to being booed after two games- one of which I saw and there was no booing only mass support. In football the fan base being highly vocal in support is usually the home crowd! Bobby b is one such fan. A model to young and older fans alike. I don’t share the ” you pay your money and you makes your choice” Just my personal opinion. I prefer to support.

  • BandB

    Aug 15, 2016 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #34


    I have been reading your posts and I’ve been surprised to find agree on some issues this season.
    You seem far closer to the first position I outlined than the second.
    You have also been a champion of shades of grey. Which means, of course, weighing the evidence as we can see it. We rarely get the whole picture in life. Most conclusions are reached by deduction.
    So I don’t subscribe to the argument “no-one knows what’s going on.” You see wreckage by the road, you don’t have to have seen it happen to know there’s been a car crash.
    There’s no Aunt Sally board to blame this season. If things go wrong it will be a straight fight again between those who blame the manager and those who blame the club. The best way to avoid that is to back Rafa in his clearly express wish to strengthen the team further over the next two weeks.

  • BandB

    Aug 15, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #35

    Oh, and I chose insidious because insidious was what I meant.


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