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Rafa Upbeat About Newcastle – Points Out The Strengths

Newcastle have not had a good start to the season, but on the other hand, it’s one of the most difficult starts we have had in the Premier League.

Three top six clubs in the first four games and we now host Arsenal in 13 days time, after the International break.

We watched the Cardiff – Arsenal game yesterday, and the Gunners looked weak in defense.

So perhaps we can get our first win of the season in our next game?

We are 3rd bottom of the league, but just 3 points out of 12th place –  just to keep things in perspective so early in the season.

Rafa Benitez congratulates Jamaal Lascelles on Saturday

Here’s what an upbeat Rafa has said in the Northern Echo today:

“We cannot be watching the table,” “It is too early.”

“The main thing is the performance. We are not too far away, and as soon as you start with a couple of victories, you can go up.”

“You can see the team is getting better. The performance in defense against Chelsea was really good, and here against a fantastic team that won the league, we were still there.”

“We are still improving things and we will improve more because these players work really hard and listen to you.”

“They try to do their best in every training session and every game.”

“We knew the start would be difficult, but the message for the players has to be to keep your head high.”

“You can see the things we are doing, and we are very close.”

It’s very early in the season and we will see in our next six games how we fare against teams like Crystal Palace, Brighton, and Southampton.

Three wins in those games would be fantastic.

Comments welcome.

48 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #1

    Hopefully when we do start winning it’ll be the last of catchy, SUTTY and jarra mick for awhile.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #2

    Was it in Extras where Ricky Gervais dunks his head in a bowl of soup out of sheer boredom and exasperation?

  • Mag :P

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #3

    They will 100% disappear jfa.

    They only have something to say when we are struggling which everyone already expected after the lack of money spent and the ridiculously difficult games early on.

    They will leave when we start winning because they know they can’t brainwash people into there agenda.

  • Rob1971

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #4

    Have to say in my time watching NUFC Given has been the best keeper, we have had some decent ones though in my time Kevin Carr was the keeper when I started going, Harper, Martin Thomas, Tommy Wright, Budgie, Pav, worst ones were Hardwick & Hooper, wasn’t a fan of Shaky Shakka either

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #5

    What about Dave the save?

  • G

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #6

    Shaka was a good shot stopper, but couldn’t organise his defence. I did like Tommy ‘The Barman’ Wright in his early days. He really did look top class, however, injury and confidence issues seemed to affect him in later years.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #7

    Steven Taylor was the best keeper we had

    So good people didn’t even know it

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #8

    Matz Sels was the most unusual keeper situation I’ve encountered. He was given full backing by the manager and had a good defence in front of him, he seemed to get worse with every clean sheet kept rather than grow in confidence.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #9


    What about lionel Perez or whatever from down the road, it was 6months before I realised we’d signed him

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #10

    Budgie was my favourite keeper


    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #11

    I had a look at the games u put up till new year,for a laugh..i think we’ll get between 20-23 points if we have a bit luck.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #12

    Do we start winning because Rafa is a great coach with poor players, or do we start winning because we have decent players that are being held back with defensive tactics.

    but got to say,, liking the LOVE FEST going on in here, its very predictable, we get beat, we Rant, then you lot come out of the woodwork with excuses.

    i mean come on, yesterday, i was told it was normal practice for defenders NOT to try and stop shots so the keeper can have a chance of saving it. and you went along with it,

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #13


    What’s the weather like in your bubble?


    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #14

    Wasn’t too disappointed with the display at the weekend,with the superior players they have it could of been a hell of a lot more embarrassing and crippling at the end of the season, aye we could done things a but better in areas and maybe closed down more for there second goal but when ya under pressure,things dont workout….rough start to the season…a combination of poor play,poor individual performances,good teams and poor decision making by the team and referees all contributed to this but if we had lost 3,4 or 5 to spurs,chelsea and man city we could of been looking at a confidence melt down….instead we have a break, start a fresh knowing we have scored against 3 of tge possible top 4 and only lost by the odd goal…. despite some poor play at times…not a lot to hang on too but there is a little wiggle room for optimism….time knuckle down abd win the next game.


    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #15

    Excuse the spelling mistakes! Lol

  • Optimistic Panda

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #16


    Yesterday you said you didn’t expect Nufc to compete with the top 6 but you did expect them to compete with the other 14 club’s.

    There’s only 20 club’s in the league but by your math there’s 21..

    As I said yesterday we finished above 10 of those club’s you wish us to compete with, only 3 Of those clubs finished above us.

    Could you explain compete as I don’t understand what you mean!

    You confuse yourself never mind us..

  • estechco

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #17

    Can’t entirely recall his wider game, but Mick Mahoney (super goalie la-la-lalala-la) had a sensational knack of saving penalties?

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #18

    First keeper I recall was Big Davey Hollins in the early sixties – big man in little shorts
    Then Gordon Marshall OK keeper
    I would say we have not had a Great keeper in my time watching the Toon
    Given and Pav probably the best
    Shay lack of command in the six yard box stopped him being a World Class keeper
    Mind you I like Dubravka – class act
    Let’s hope we can keep him!!!!

  • hibbit

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #19

    Charlie re Dave Hollins

    you remember his boots ????

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #20


    is it brain washed, or just open eyes,, pros talking about Rafa



    Rafa made a lot of decisions with himself in mind. He wanted power and control. I didn’t like it. Fighting with the board, other managers and the press wasn’t the Liverpool way.

    “Rafa had fallen out with the owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. We were all starting to doubt them but Rafa talked to the press about problems with his new contract.

    “Rafa broke the focus of the team. We got asked about it all the time in the media: ‘What’s all that about? Why has he done that?’ We never found out because Rafa didn’t say a word to us. I think he felt awkward because he knew it backfired.”


    “Gerard introduced Rafa to my mum. Rafa shook her hand, said hello and then immediately asked her a very blunt question: ‘Does Steven like money?’

    “Apart from a standard ‘Hello… good to meet you’ introduction, those were the first words Rafa said to my mum. I thought: ‘What kind of question is that?

    Because of Benítez’s chase for perfection, his feedback cycle is devoid of positivity. There are only corrections, delivered without the conversational encrustations most deem customary. In the pre-season of 2004, after a friendly with Celtic, Benítez tapped Owen on the shoulder. “You have to learn how to turn more quickly when you have the ball with your back to goal,” he told Owen, who had just scored twice. Carragher: “I glanced at Michael, saw the look of astonishment on his face, and started laughing… I’ve not heard a manager speak to Michael like that for years.” This was only the start. “He was privately critical of our squad, which was reassuring in some respects, although he was just as negative about the Valencia side he’d left, which I thought was so good,” Carragher wrote about Benítez. “In fact, you’d be hard pressed to get Rafa to say anything positive about any player or team he’s worked with.”

    The fitness work under Pako Ayestarán is described as military-like. Bellamy hails Benítez’s defensive work as “exceptional”, the video analysis as “extremely thorough”. But he criticises his rigidness. On the training ground, Benítez wanted certain running patterns to unfold whenever the ball reached a certain area. Bellamy felt this undermined individual improvisation. “It was a bit like Groundhog Day,” he wrote. “You came in and did the same stuff over and over again.”

    Bellamy might have had a point when he noted that “of all the managers I have worked with, he trusted his players the least”

    do you not see any of this

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 3, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #21

    14TH IN the blogs fantasy league,,

    so much luck

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #22

    Catchy, I get that you ain’t that bright, but the posters you are accusing of ‘crawling out of the woodwork’ are the most constant posters on here. I think anybody in contact with their brain would say people like yourself, who only appear when we lose, are regarded as ‘crawling out of the woodwork’, not those who post every day regardless of results. Dumbass.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #23

    Cannot remember his boots – but I can remember/can seethes thinking about him was BIGGGGG John MacNamee

    Hulk of a bloke with what looked like the tinniest feet/boots which were tied with the longest white laces which must of wrapped around his boots a dozen times – happy days in the Leazes End

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #24

    Apologies if this link has already been mentioned.


    With a net spend since last year of only £1million – it really does beg the question – “where has all the money gone”.

    This message/question needs to be pumped out repeatedly thus further exposing Mr Tubbs PR shenanigans/lies.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #25

    Yup, and the key word is ‘fantasy’. 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #26

    I truly believe Dubravka will be the best ever seen at SJP, judging by his performances so far. Bearing in mind the quality of attackers, he’s been a revelation.

  • Rob1971

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #27

    Jail forgot all about Beasant as he was short lived here, we had high hopes going into that season after splashing a bit of cash

  • Rob1971

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #28

    I remember the time beardsley ended up in goal for us in an 8:1 defeat to West Ham, we lost 2 keepers to injury and Hedworth went in goal and ended up going off injured too

  • G

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #29

    Funny thing is, nobody has fond memories about Willie McFaul in the nets? I suppose he is more remembered as the manager than as a player. Was it McFaul who bought Bessant?

  • G

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #30

    Beasant even. Fat fingers, small phone.

  • RobLeenio

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #31

    We’ve had a history of decent keepers without many being World beaters. Two not yet mentioned are Tim Krul who was excellent on his day but had a tendency to flap and Steve Harper.

    Harps was never going to be the best keeper at the club, but he was loyal, dependable and respected. For him to stick at the club and play second fiddle to other players for so long when he could have been number 1 elsewhere was great credit to him.

    Very pleased he’s back at the club coaching our kids, if he can pass on even a small bit of his character and skill, we’ll keep that keeper talent conveyor running for years to come.

  • Rob1971

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #32

    G he was before my time, just seen clips from you/tube, tv, I was born in 1971 mainly remember keepers from Carr/Hardwick times, Mcfaul did sign Beasant he got sacked that season and replaced by Jim Smith

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #33

    Best article ever


    Has catchy p—–ed off yet? He brings happiness whenever he goes. .

  • Rob1971

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #34

    Robleenio I mentioned Harps earlier but not Krul, I was never that confident with Krul he made great saves but had a big tendency to parry shots straight back out instead of to the sides, didn’t command his erea either

  • Aces-of-Eights

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #35

    Veltman. if you didnt know already loonytoon22 is actually the ex lover of ashley thats why loonytoon22 does what they do on here.

  • G

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #36

    Wasn’t sure if Beasant was a Jim Smith signing, or a McFaul signing. Memory fails me these days.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #37

    McFaul was decent, but played in an era with quite a few who were better. Banks, Bonetti, Jennings, Clemence, Shilton, Parkes, Wilson etc.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #38

    Mr Tuff

    For a kick off, anyone who appoints someone (JFK) with vascular dementia not once but twice is not exacty playing it straight with anyone is he. That foul mouthed rant in the presser, the wonga fiasco, wise, llambias (don’t they know how horrible we can be) the list goes on but actually employing a PR company and some seedy reprobates to smear your own manager shows the guy is beyond all contempt.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #39

    Also the difference with Dubravka and the rest of the recent keepers
    A ) He is a organiser – He is constantly shouting and cajoling our defence – you can hear him half way up the Gallowgate barking out orders
    B) Most times he commands his six yard box comes collects or punches
    C) And in today’s game likes/wants to pass out from the back unlike the hoof merchants we have had sinc Pav
    Sadly he is missing Lejuene who was on the same wave length and comfortable on the ball – hopefully Fernadez who looks decent on the ball fills in as Lascalles and Clark are not comfortable on the ball and Dummett great defender and Yedlin are also not comfortable with pass outs

  • beefman13

    Sep 3, 2018 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #40

    Great psychology by Benitez, my players arnt good enough against the big money clubs me and the fans know it so no problemo, let’s get the gooners out of the way, then watch us rocket up the league, I thought we would only get a point up until the end of sept, hope I’m wrong but Arsenal are a top six club arnt they so it’s a tough ask, just ask the manager so it’s expected, hope this patter is all reverse psychology, otherwise he covers his own back especially with his me and the fans understand this!?!?


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