It will be interesting to see how Newcastle perform in the cups this season.
Last season we didn’t do too well and lost at home 3-2 to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup, and they are again our second round opponents next Wednesday night in Nottingham.
We hope we can get through that round, but it’s also clear that Rafa will start most of the new signings in that game – so we’ll see how they perform.
In the FA Cup last season we beat Luton Town at home 3-1 but then lost 3-0 to Chelsea away so we didn’t get very far and didn’t have much luck in the draw either.
League position will still take precedence this season – only because our team is not yet good enough to be sure we’ll not be in (yet) another relegation scrap.
We should know by the end of this year if we have a better team than last season – it’s not clear yet.
Rafa Benitez – Premier League has to take precedence
The manager was asked in the Chronicle today how he would approach the League Cup ( Carabao Cup) and FA Cup games this season:
“It depends. What I’ll say this year is similar to last. It depends on the squad.”
“If we don’t have any injuries and we can manage – we will try to compete.” “But the priority always has to be to stay in the Premier League.”
“If everybody is available and we can go through with a good team then fine, we will go with that.”
“But I can’t promise that the target is to win the League Cup or the FA Cup because I will be lying to our fans.”
“I know our fans want a good run in the cup.” “And we will try with the squad that we have.”
“We can’t try to start with the same XI for 10 games in a row.” “People say: ‘Yeah but it’s the start of the season and you can do that’.”
“No, because the risk is players will be tired – and you will have injuries that will maybe result in them being missing in the Premier League.
“You have to manage and you have to go through but with the players available the balance maybe starting some games in the Premier League and some in the cups.”
That’s a little bit disappointing from Rafa but he knows we must stay in the Premier League and we’re sure he doesn’t even want a relegation fight this season.
It’s got to be one step at a time in the cups this season – so we hope we can get past Nottingham Forest next Wednesday night at the City Ground.
And our players need to get some penalty practice in.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes it goes straight to penalties and there is no extra time.