Rafa Benitez seemed pleased with the performance of Newcastle this afternoon at least until those last 15 minutes when we conceded one, scored one and conceded the second with just 3 minutes to play to lose the game against Chelsea.
But with Rafa making six changes and all five new players signed this summer (excluding previous players Kenedy and Dubravka) taking part in the game, it showed we have some strength in depth.
In fact the starting team today had six new players in from last year and seven if Kenedy had been available.
So Rafa is slowly but steadily changing and improving the team with not much financial help from owner Mike Ashley.
Rafa Benitez on the touchline today
Here’s some of what Rafa said after the game:
“Normally you lose before and everybody knows the answers after. You saw the last 10 minutes the chances they had, they’re very dangerous.”
“Against any team they can pass, run, that is the reason why they are a good team and candidates to win the title.”
“Any of the top sides lose five players they are missing that one that one, Jonjo can pass but was not there, we did a great job, it’s a pity to lose in this way.”
“We have shown last year we finished 10th and made not too many mistakes, we had to try to do similar things this season if we can.”
“With the players you have you can coach one way. If I was coaching Hazard you can do different things. We were really close, it’s a pity.”
“I remember a long time ago – Pep Guardiola played a game for Barcelona, they had 80% possession and lost 2-0.”
“Possession now is just a stat for TV. It means nothing if you create five chances.” (so very true)
“I like to talk to players to ask their opinion. If any player has a different opinion, he can give his opinions but after, we stick with the plan and that’s it.”
“You talk with your players every day, and you talk about everything, so we don’t have any problems.”
Those last two sentences are a reference to Jamaal Lascelles.
And it doesn’t seem there’s too much of a rift between the captain and the manager – hopefully Jamaal will be back on Wednesday night at Nottingham Forest from his slight ankle injury.
We need everybody to stick together – including Rafa and Jamaal.