Newcastle played well against Spurs on Saturday after being a little shaky in the first 30 minutes of the game.
In the end, it was the extra class that Spurs have that won them the game, but if Newcastle hadn’t been so open and generous in that first half, we would have had a better chance to get a draw or even win the game.
In the summer Rafa wanted to improve the class in the squad, but you need money to get the classy players in.
And he couldn’t do exactly what he wanted to do through a lack of funding from Mike Ashley.
We have improved the squad but as Rafa has said – he doesn’t know by how much – and we don’t have the strength in depth Rafa wanted.
DeAndre Yedlin helped from the field right at the end of the game
Newcastle will soon be finding that out, but Saturday’s performance was encouraging – if not the result.
This is some of what Rafa said after the game:
“You always try to bring in better players and more quality. In this case, we have our squad, now, and if we do not have injuries, we can manage.”
“But to make the difference in games like this, it is sometimes that little bit of quality that makes the difference.”
“We have players where they can do it sometimes, but the next step is people who can make this every single week, and that is what they have.”
“You see someone like Eriksen, and he can make the difference in every game. Then you see Alli, Harry Kane – they have so many good players.”
“We are talking about one of the top six. We would need to add six players where they can do it every time they walk on to the pitch.”
“We have some players where they can do it, but we are still looking for this balance.”
“We have good teams to play against,” “To lose Florian Lejeune before was not ideal, and we will have to see what happens with DeAndre Yedlin.”
“Still, the positive thing was the reaction of the team and the way we were approaching the second half. You have to take the positives and then hopefully we can build from there.”
“I could see that maybe we were right not playing them from the beginning because you could see that they didn’t quite have the right understanding with their team-mates.”
“And maybe the fitness was not quite what you were expecting.”
“At the same time, that is normal though because they came late during the transfer window.”
“That is why it is better to do things quickly because you have the players ready and you can work with them.”
“In this case, I am happy with their effort and movement and a lot of things, but still you can see that the understanding with the rest of the team-mates is not quite there.”
It’s going to be an interesting week in training.
We will have our new players who didn’t start on Saturday – Rondon, Muto, Fernandez, Schar, and Ki Sung-yueng pushing for a starting position at Cardiff City.
We still think there’s more competition for places than we had last season at this time, especially when we had two players in the squad – Mitro and Mbemba – who Rafa wouldn’t pick unless he forced into it.
We have already lost Florian Lejeune maybe for the season and bad news this week on DeAndre Yedlin’s knee injury is the last thing we want to hear.
If we get a lot of injuries this season we could be struggling again – that’s the concern with so little depth in the squad in certain positions – like full-back.
What do you think?