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Rafa Educates The Pundits On Some Football Stats

After the game, Rafa Benitez was criticized by some pundits for his defensive tactics, including Jamie Redknapp and Richard Keys (yes – him again),

Of course, that’s their job as pundits – to criticize others (also known as giving their opinions) – so it was not surprising.

The commentary we got over here on NBC Sports was not complimentary to Newcastle.

Like at the start of the second half –“we’ll not say Newcastle are “attacking” this end – but they are playing towards it.”

The commentators were besotted with the possession stats – 81% for Chelsea.

Rafa is so successful at what he does he’ll be used to the criticism, and we don’t think it affects him one iota.

Rafa Benitez – demonstrating his sign language yesterday

This is how he answered his critics after the game:

“You have what you have, so I want to give credit to my players for the effort they make in every game.”

“It depends on the car you have, you have to drive that car in the best way.”

“It is not about me and the tactics, it is about players, the results and the bigger picture.”

“Last season, we were the best team in the bottom half and we hope to do the same again if we can.”

“You can be a little bit better on the ball, so I am not happy with how we gave the ball away.”

“But at the same time, we have to understand what we have and how we can maximise what we have.”

“I was watching teams yesterday playing 5-4-1 and it’s said they are great tacticians and they are fantastic because someone has an opinion on TV.”

“But I was watching and analyzing the stats and I don’t agree with some of these comments.”

“As a manager, you have to make decisions and as a pundit, you have to give opinions. “

“That’s it.”

“I remember a long time ago, I don’t know if it was when Pep Guardiola was at Barcelona, when they had 80% against Celtic and they lost the game.”

“Possession is just for the TV,  for the stats. It means nothing.”

“You have to do what you have to do to maximize what you have. Everyone has their own tools.”

Good words there from the Newcastle manager.

And pundits give their opinions on stuff.

But managers have real jobs to do like trying to get some points out of a challenging game – whether it be home or away.

Their actions mean something and they are accountable for those actions.

Let’s just leave it at that.


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24 comments so far

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #1

    Fans’ Forum cancelled, apparently.

  • posada

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #2

    Why did Rafa go 3 at the back. Actually it was 5.
    Well one reason could be we seem to now have a problem at right back.
    Manquillo roasted against Cardiff.
    Yedlin to a lesser degree had a difficult time against Spurs.
    Not great defenders.

    The better teams will exploit that more with movement and top players interchanging their positions.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #3

    Sorry i have been meaning Fernandez at CD and not Frederico!

  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #4

    If you was a player at nufc and rafa says stuff like we have what we have we are not good enough how would it make you feel?

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #5

    But the criticism is when you only have 20% possession and you’re sitting too deep you’re just soaking up pressure and inviting more…

    The better PL teams will score goals that way especially if you’re not offering anything going the other way…

    We all use the tools we have, but did we really do that yesterday? Surely that’s up for debate! As it was at the Cardiff game…

    Personally I think we are our own worse enemy!

  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #6

    Amazing how nobody hears from catchy for ages after we had a great second half of last season getting to 10th which was beyond all expectations and as soon as we lose to a team whose players cost nearly 10 times what ours do, then lo and behold he’s there gloating again, glad that we lost so he can spout his vitriol again. It’s very distasteful to still claim to be a NUFC fan given the hugely compromising and endless fire fighting circumstances the manager has been and is constantly under. Plus going on previous Catchy recommendations didn’t McLaren just lose 7-1 and 4 in a row at QPR and I wonder what OGS is up to these days.

    I will agree I too am not a massive Lascelles fan as I think he is somewhat technically and positionally lacking, albeit physically imposing and if he is now playing the big time Charlie b—-ks with Rafa that is a very worrying sign. However, was very impressed with Fernandez. I guess you don’t get 32 Argentina caps for nothing.

    Shame about Yedlin, great pace and work rate but seems to always crucially and fatally lose his man at least once a game.


    From last thread, sadly you could be right

  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #7

    aces of eights

    want to prove him wrong

  • lochinvar

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #8

    Apparently Ashley has bought out GCHQ in Cheltenham in an attempt to get them to decipher what’s going on with the Newcastle fans as he doesn’t understand what their message is


  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #9

    I think we will lose vs man city no matter what so i think rafa should rest players vs man city and play 11 men behind ball in that game. However vs forest it has to be his strongest available team we must beat forest. If he plays weak team vs forest and strong vs man city and loses both games then rafa really needs to go.

  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #10

    Rotunda. I wouldnt want to play for him. His tactics wont help you prove him wrong cos youll be on back foot most games and wont be able to show what youre about.

  • Slank

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #11

    Was the formation (5 at the back) and tactics because we were missing Lascelles, Shelvey and Kenedy or was it to blunt Chelsea ?

    Would we have played differently if it wasn’t Chelsea (or any of the top four) ?

    If all three are back fighting fit will the team resort back to their normal formation irrespective of who the opponents are ?

  • sing in the corner

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #12

    Possession / completed passes stats being widely used to batter NUFC and Rafa are a load of hot air. Hundreds of 5-10 yard passes in areas not doing a damn thing but keeping the ball. Tiki taka.. basically boring, posturing and going nowhere but can be used to make a loaded point if you want to I guess.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #13

    Aces of eights,
    I have a bad feeling we could be relegated this season. We have a lot more chance of avoiding it with Rafa. If he has to go a dead cert would be Moyes if he was willing to take the job, which for 5M he probably would. Do you think the football would be better under him.

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #14


    your welcome 😉


    Coward, hmm, thats the one i can honestly say im, il meet anyone to talk about football or what ever, I speak my mind and an always willing to have my point of view changed, but it will not be changed by a simple point of view, you have to have other things to back it up.

    I dont care that you work in the Irish sea, or whether you have done a million thai girls, i said it because i was making up stuff in my head the way you seem to do very regular.

    during the Pardew era, i backed most of my opinions up with facts and by the end most peeople could see it, but still didnt like me, but hey ho thats life, but i was right.

    its the same here, you say Rafa is the dogs bol licks, yet what i see is a very defensive team that dose not creat much, if you go to who scored and look at our style of play, it is embarrassing to think he gets 6 million a year for what pardew got 1 million for

    on what rafa has won in his life time, why are so poor at

    Finishing scoring chances
    Avoiding individual errors
    Defending set pieces
    Keeping possession of the ball
    Very Weak
    Avoiding fouling in dangerous areas
    Very Weak

    most of that is coaching, and these players might not be the very very top players, but most play for there countries, and those countries.

    Newcastle United’s Style of Play
    Take a lot of shots
    Long balls
    Attempt through balls often
    Attacking down the right
    Rotate their first eleven
    Playing in their own half.

    this only backs up what i see, it dose not scream great coach

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #15

    “Monday morning has finally seen confirmation that the meeting of the Newcastle United Fans Forum…has been cancelled.

    “Only 24 hours before the meeting was due to take place, Lee Charnley said to be ‘unavailable’.”

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #16

    not is the missing word

    cowards, dont speak there minds, cowards would rather agree and run away

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #17

    I think it’s always tough for an owner to sack a manager because it will cost them money. But if you’ve backed them and they’re not delivering then you have to do it. It will be quite satisfying in a gallows humour type of way if it ends up costing Ashley a good few quid for deliberately not backing his manager.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #18

    Possession doesn’t mean everything, playing keep ball is pointless. It has to be possession with intent.

    But let’s face it, Rafa has highlighted Barca vs Celtic as an example, but I imagine that most of the critics could quite comfortably respond with hundreds of examples where teams who have had that sort of possession dominance and won.

    I’m glad he has said we should have used the ball better, that was our biggest problem. Conceding possession and isolating our striker when we played it long will always just invite pressure. If we want to play like yesterday, the person highest up the field needs to be very quick to get in behind on a break. No point having more of a target man, as even if he wins it he is isolated.

    As for the penalty, it is a definite pen. That sort of tackle was banned a while ago. Just like a tackle from behind, even if you win the ball it is a foul.

    Soft free kick for the winner, but ours probably shouldn’t have stood either so we each got 1.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #19

    Cowards disappear when Steve McLaren and OLG turn out to be complete duds and when Championship winning managers finish tenth in their first year back in the PL. They reappear when things aren’t going so well thinking that their opinions are more valid.

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #20

    Hi rotondo

    i miss read the first part,, sounded like you were having a go at me,, but then i read the second part, i realise i was wrong and you see the same as me 🙂

    good to see your eyes are working again

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #21


    Looks like Moyes has competition from Paul Lambert:

    “Paul Lambert on Rafa Benitez’s tactics
    “When asked if he would have set up like that. . .

    “No, not if I was manager of Newcastle because I think 50,000 that turn up, who are used to Sir Bobby Robson or Kevin Keegan – all out attack. In a stadium as vibrant, you could hear a pin drop. I wouldn’t have liked to have played in it or managed it. I could understand if it was a team from the lower leagues; okay sit, two banks of four but not when you’re that level.”

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #22


    honestly your hard work,, you want to hate everyone unless they hate ashley..

    i am will to give you my email if you think that i go missing, you can contact me anytime you llike


    thats my spam one, bbut i do check it

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #23


    once again though, i hit you with facts, and you come with personal insults,, is that not cowardly?

  • Geordie-john

    Aug 27, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #24

    Well done to the lads. Most of them put up a good fight, the rest should have just went home ( without pay ) Have we got to watch Rondom playing a loan striker. Micky Quinn was quicker than him and not to mention a far better finisher.
    The ref was pathetic. I’m not just being bias He really did need to have his eyes tested or open even. VAR should be used to keep the ref’s fair and equal towards both teams during a game. That was at least a draw and possibly a win for Newcastle.
    VAR would stop all of the diving and pretend tripping that goes on initiated by a lot of foreign players in the English leagues . It’s pathetic and spoils the game.


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