Rafa Benitez made 7 changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by Chelsea on Saturday.
And he gave starts to Yoshinori Muto who played up front with Joselu.
And our two local lads who played well in preseason – Sean Longstaff and Jamie Sterry also started the game, and both had good games.
Sean in particular once again played very well – this time alongside the experienced Ki Sung-yueng.
Longstaff looks the real deal, and he will stay with the first team at least until the end of the year – as will Jamie Sterry who is determined to make an impact at the club this season.
Sean Longstaff – another convincing performance
And Rafa believes it will take some time for Yoshinori Muto to get used to the extra pace in the Premier League and in English football in general.
This is some of what Rafa said after the disappointing result last night, as reported in Chronicle Live:
“To win a competition with our squad will not be easy, my team selection was trying to win, nobody can complain about that.”
“We were pushing and trying to win.”
“It is not the first time this year and we have just had three games we were disappointed with.”
“It was a team that wanted to win and fight until the end and tried to win.”
“They can say they did that and they didn’t have too many problems in defense and you could see it could be a draw.”
“With two or three injured we couldn’t take risks with some others, this team was still good enough to win and we know why.”
“Longstaff and Sterry did well.” “Given they are young they overall played well.”
“Muto needs to learn it is a bit quicker in England.”
“He was fine in terms of effort but there are situations where he needs to learn he needs to do things a little faster.”
The actual score looks terrible but we conceded the final two goals four minutes into stoppage time when we were looking to win the game and left ourselves open at the back.
We were again unlucky – but we cannot keep saying that after each loss – we somehow have to start winning games.
But Rafa is not too concerned at the moment, and we all need to stick together – we are going to get a lot better.
The national press will hope we lose our next two games at Manchester City and at home to Arsenal and then we’ll get some nasty press.
So what’s new?
Stick together – Rafa will prove them all wrong this season too – I just know it.