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Rafa Benitez Gives His Opinion On Season So Far

We started this season in the worst possible way imaginable, when we lost 1-0 at Fulham and followed that up with a 2-1 defeat at home to Huddersfield in our first home game.

That was even worse than how we started last season under the woeful Steve McClaren – at least we got a point at home to Southampton in our first game.

And when we were promoted in the 2009-2010 season we didn’t lose a game at home.


Rafa Benitez and Simon Grayson shake hands Saturday at Deepdale

So it was a fairly inconspicuous start from Newcastle – who at the time were red-hot favorites to get promoted and also red-hot favorites to win the Championship.

Fast forward 16 games and we have won 14 of them and drawn one and we are now top of the Championship and have won all of our last 7 games – six of those in the league.

Not too bad.

And manager Rafa Benitez is pleased the way the lads have dug in and managed to get 14 wins in our first 18 games in all competitions this season, including 11 wins in our first 15 league games.

We have won all six games in October and this is what Rafa has said about our start to the season following the 2-1 win at Deepdale on Saturday:

“It’s not easy when you start in a new division and it’s so difficult and everyone is expecting that you will make the difference in every game.”

“Then you start by losing the first two games.”

“The team is showing what it can do through the rest of this season though and we are doing well now.”

“It’s great to see the team playing with the confidence they have at the moment.”

“It pleases me a lot because we need to be consistent if we want to do well and stay at the top of the table, which is our goal.”

Rafa is not one to get too high about anything or get too low about anything either, so it pleases me a lot is near  as good as it gets.

But to be fair the manager also wants to show steadiness and calmness, which will pass on to his players as he wants them to just keep winning – whoever the opposition is – good, bad or indifferent.

That seems like a very good strategy to us – and take one game at a time – it’s easier that way.


We’ve done extremely well so far this season – now we have to keep it up or even get better?

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

16 comments so far

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #1

    Good timing Ed!!

    Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 30, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    Hardly been home last two days, just caught up with the various comments.

    1 I think Anita will get an extended contract, if he wants one.
    2. I think that the present squad would survive and even prosper when we go up this season. Although I’m certain new players will be bought in.

    3. Yes we are sticking Rafa on a pedestal and I can’t see him falling off it. He’s bought a ray of sunshine into our dreary former 5 or so year

  • Jimmy……Jimmy……Jimmy Smith

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    Comment #2

    “Bale commits future to European champions for three more years, and to earn £350,000 a week after tax with €1bn buyout clause”

    I actually think he’s worth it.

  • TyneMouth

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #3

    The next transfer window does not open till January 2017, two months from now.
    Rafa is probably more concerned about who he can add to his squad, than who he would wish to sell. Especially his team captain!
    If it turns out that Ashley can ‘instruct’ Rafa to sell a player, he has ‘just’ about enough football knowledge to realise 18M£ is way under value for Lascelles.
    In two months time Lascelles will be worth a lot more to Premier League clubs either pushing for Europe or avoiding relegation.
    Fast forward to the summer transfer window, what price the captain of a record breaking Championship winning team.
    Rafa won’t sell without a replacement lined up. Townsend/Richie comes to mind…

  • lesh

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:35 PM

    Comment #4


    You’ve hardly been in for two days? Really? On your 49th wedding anniversary and you choose to go walkabout? What a way to treat the ever patient Mrs Essex – you’re a cad, a bounder and probably wear red and white striped jim jams too!

  • expatmag

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #5


    I think you will find that Ashley will NOT be instructing Rafa on sales but more the reverse as evidenced by the substantial profit made on Sissoko and Wijnaldum.

    Lascelles will be here for a few years to come. He is the leader we have been lacking since Nolan left and highly important to the team and club in general.

  • TyneMouth

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:47 PM

    Comment #6

    After his two match, four goal exploits of last week, it would not be surprising if Rafa selects Mitrovic to face Cardiff.
    After the Cardiff game there are is a 16 day gap before we play Leeds, plenty of time for Gayle to fully recover.
    Mitrovic meanwhile will have played game(s) for Serbia during the international break, a good opportunity to rest him from the Leeds game…

  • Jimmy……Jimmy……Jimmy Smith

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:56 PM

    Comment #7

    Yeah that’s a home game too, so we might well see Atsu and Perez also start, and maybe even Dummett rested for Lazaar or Haidarra, which from an attacking perspective is quite a prospect.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    Comment #8


    My walkabout was with the missus, she keeps me on a tight lead. 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:28 AM

    Comment #9

    The only possible change I would envisage for the back 4 would be Anita for Yedlin. The other 3 are absolute bankers.

    And Lesh as for red and white striped jimjams what a horrible thought, what sort of depraved depths do you think I’m capable of.

    That comment sir requires me to slap you across the face with a frozen kipper. Time and place of your chosen.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:31 AM

    Comment #10

    And as I’m talking to myself I’d better retire for the night.

    Good night to anyone still around.

  • lesh

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:37 AM

    Comment #11

    Mr Essex.

    Sir, if I affronted you by referring to red and white striped jimjams, I consider myself to have been well and truly slapped with a kipper. Ouch!

  • Novocastrian66

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:37 AM

    Comment #12

    Goodnight Bill.

  • Ron Knee

    Oct 31, 2016 at 7:16 AM

    Comment #13

    “This week, Moyes and his players are due to visit the car manufacturing plant and the manager joked some of them might soon be looking for jobs there. They are unlikely to get them – while Nissan have announced plans to build two new models on Wearside, collapsible clown cars are not expected to roll off their assembly line any time soon.”

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    Comment #14

    Ron Knee,
    He could have quite easily ended up here, shudders to think.

  • Ron Knee

    Oct 31, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #15


    Without our annual gift of 6 points, it looks like doom for SAFC!

  • cyprus

    Oct 31, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Comment #16

    Long way to go yet, he’s right. But he has instilled a steely winning mentality and he can’t be congratulated enough for a job well done.

    We are at a stage where, maybe, if we win half the remaining games, coupled with a few draws, we’ll make it up, going by statistics (about 85 points needed).

    Though don’t read this Rafa, we’re on a winning streak, no relaxing yet.


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