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Newcastle Manager – The Team Just Looks Like It’s Defensive

Rafa was lambasted by those so-called expert football pundits for his tactics last Saturday in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

And since he’s famous and been very successful in his football management career, Rafa must expect to get criticized – and we’re sure he does; it comes with the territory.

But we wonder if it’s a little frustrating to him getting criticized by people who don’t know half as much about football as Rafa does.

Probably not.

Rafa Benitez – good points about pundits

He points out a truism – that he always has his team well organized and each player knows exactly what they need to do in games.

This is what Rafa has said after the 2-1 defeat on Saturday at home to Chelsea:

“I like to play with five strikers if I can.”

“Again I will say, in all my life, we have had teams organized playing attacking football.”

“That’s because attacking football means scoring more goals than the others and we used to score a lot of goals.”

“When a team is organized, it seems that it is defensive.”

“I like to be organized because we are strong and in the big picture, we are better.”

“Now again I will say, I was watching yesterday teams playing 5-4-1, 4-5-1 and it seems that they are great tacticians.”

“And they are fantastic because someone on the TV has an opinion.”

Good comments there from Rafa.

One reason pundits are pundits is that they don’t want to have the high-pressure job of a manager or else they are not good enough to become managers.

Usually, one or the other – or they want to become pundits.


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Comments welcome.

18 comments so far

  • cyprus

    Aug 29, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #1

    As you are probably aware, there are several ways to rank blogs and websites. Some algorithms are top secret, as Google will assure you.
    Not entirely clear how they compiled their list. With certain criteria, I’m quite sure you’re comfortably in the top ten.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #2

    Are we still on the Chelsea match lol. Can’t wait for the reaction on the blog after Man City! I guess if a young German manager as somebody suggested yesterday was in charge, they would have done better. Someone like Wagner. Oh that was 3-0 at home. Nevermind. We all know though if pep guardiola was in charge Jacob Murphy will be playing like messi, Joselu/rondon playing like aguero and Ritchie like David silva.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #3

    That scuffle reported between Ritchie and lascelles was first reported in the daily mail… again. Now it wasn’t the case of not wanting to be right sided cb of 3, the players had to be pulled apart. Going on by comments of both players in the past, this type of thing is common past couple seasons. Total non-story which daily mail will print anyway. That’s how they roll.

  • hibbit

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #4

    the annoying thing about the incident was how many other news outlets pick the story up and ran with it without any facts as on the how why or when.
    the press just love to put the boot in at any opportunity no matter what the circumstances are

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #5

    Who needs facts in this day and age. Hype and fake news is the order of the day. Amateur ‘news’ outlets just want to be first. Not right, just first. Who cares for facts. With Newcastle though, yes put the boot in but put Ashley on a pedestal first and foremost seems to be the narrative for most of the media.

    If anything though, this should further help motivate players together.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #6

    Has anyone mentioned dummett has been called up for the wales squad.

  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #7

    Hibbitt, re me seeming to over criticise Rafa – maybe its cos I’m a tool! 🙂

    I think Rafa is a great gut compared to the level we are normally entitled too. I maintain that we can do better against the better teams at home, albeit in a small way. We have internationals on the pitch, Guys like Ki should be able to influence the game better. Same too Rondon, Ritchie, and hopefully the guys who are injured, when they are recovered. As RobLee said, maybe over time once rafa has them better drilled. I still have great faith in him, although looking at the bottom half of the table, the others have spent so much etc 🙁

  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #8

    ronaldo, first I’d heard of it. Congrats – by your own definition you’ve just graduated as an amateur news outlet


    Seriously, it’s good news for the lad but I think he’d been called up before and turned it down, I think he was holding out for an England call up as despite playing for the junior Welsh teams he was still eligible for England.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #9

    Looking forward to Rafa attempting to field an extra 10% in attack at City. Lets hope no one spots 11 outfield players plus the goalie.

    In all seriousness if Chelsea had 80% possession it could be construed that all but two of our players were constantly defending. Perhaps this would be Rondon(10%) and Murphy(5%) with a mixture of Ritchie, Yedlin, Dummett providing the remaining attacking options.

    The only way to achieve a 30% attacking possession would be to play a 442 formation, with two dedicated strikers and our flankers providing more going forward than on last Sunday. Whilst i do not like playing 3 CDs, due to the confusion it sometimes creates, I do not think NUFC players can pass confidently enough to limit City to 70% possession.

    Note: i am assuming each 10% of possession/attack equates to 1 outfield player. But in most cases a player provides a mixture of defensive cover and attacking intent. Therefore a mixture of outfield contribute to each 10% increment.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #10

    Goals vs Top 6 in Premier League since August 2017:

    1. Chelsea, H, Feb 2018

    1. Liverpool, H, Oct 2017
    2. Spurs, H, Aug 2018
    3. Chelsea, H, Aug 2018

    Lol! Big game player 😉

  • BeeGuy

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #11

    I think both Ritchie & Lascalles are driven to win and think they know the best way to do that. They will have friction with other players and the mgr when they think they know best. They may or may not……

  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #12

    Rafa sets the team up the way head does. The main reason we were totally defensive was because Chelsea are so good and we couldn’t retain possession, which inevitably resulted in us defending most of the game.
    He could set us up with seven forwards but if you can’t retain possession you get pushed back to defend.
    That means you have to look at individuals and player for player Chelsea were leagues ahead of us. Keeping the score to where we were literally minutes away from a draw shows how well they were set up.
    You can only attack when you have the ball, though I’m pretty sure Rafa didn’t tell the players to immediately give Chelsea the ball back.
    You’ve got to be realistic and a team that cost what Chelsea cost are always going to be better overall.
    Expect the same on Saturday.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #13

    ronaldo aarons @6

    Thats your exclusive!

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #14

    I’ll get posting my PayPal on here so you guys can support me with donations 🙂

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #15

    Rondon looked very limited in the loan (loan) striker role, perhaps better than what we have and in difficult circumstances. He may improve with fitness but i would hope we could afford better in January.

  • BeeGuy

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #16

    Only the big money with huge rosters can win in the UK. If there were a salary cap, roster limits and a draft, then all teams in the UK would have a chance to win something if they were well managed.

  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #17


    I’ll give you a tip instead – never ever, under any circumstances, take a laxative and a sleeping pill at the same time.


  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #18

    Bobby, we gave the ball away immediately v City last year, in one of the more bizarre starts to a game I have ever seen, in order that we could get into position quickly. It still strikes me as odd but hey ho. It reminds me of a rugby game years ago. Ireland played Italy and the italians dropped the ball immediately and deliberately, to force a scrum, to show their power, within a minute of the game starting. Ireland crushed them in the scrum, mainly through a Limerickman called John Hayes Up Munster!! Jib, hope you appreciated that rugby digress 🙂


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