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Rafa Upbeat About Future – Newcastle Will Now Attack More

Even though we lost at Wembley 1-0 on Saturday in the early game against Spurs, Rafa was upbeat but disappointed we didn’t get anything out of the game after another stellar and gritty performance.

But we saw Newcastle more attacking in both halves on Saturday and if we could have taken the chances we had it could have turned out like the win at home to Manchester City. last Tuesday

But it didn’t and we came away with nothing.

But with the addition of new signings Antonio Barreca as an attacking left wing-back and Miguel Almiron as our new number 10, Rafa expects Newcastle to be able to attack more in games.

This is what he has told the Shields Gazette:

“I think that in these kinds of games you know you have to defend, but also our ideas was to go forward when we could if we regained the ball,”

“We did it during the first half when we had two or three situations that were very close.”

“And especially in the second half when we started with one or two crosses, one of which we hit the post from.”

“We also had a chance for Ayoze Perez.”

“You have to defend against good teams like Tottenham, but, after, you have to think about attacking as well.”

“These players, Barreca and Almiron, both are offensive players, they’re fine on the ball.”

“They go forward, they have some pace, and they bring us something that we needed.”

“So, hopefully, they can help the team in attack.”

“Especially because Miguel Almiron’s playing as a No 10, he’s used to playing in this position.”

“So he gives us the competition we were looking for in this position where we didn’t have too much.”

“Hopefully, it will be good and everybody will continue working as hard as they do now, but with more confidence.”

Our next big test is next Monday night away at Wolves who are playing well at the moment.

It looks like Mo Diame, Ki Sung-yueng, and Paul Dummett will all be fit for that game – but no Jonjo Shelvey.

We need all 3 points from the game.

Comments welcome.

72 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #1
  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #2


    You do seem to have an agenda and love to twist the ideas and notions of other posters completely out of shape to fit it.

    I proposed last night that I thought that Rafa would be appeased by a small but steady and binding contribution from Ashley over the next few years. I honestly don’t think he wants (and certainly doesn’t expect) much from MA in order to fulfil his ambitions for the Toon.

    You responded with “That sounds like you’re advocating Ashley not giving Rafa every last penny the club generates which he promised to do.”. You what? I was not ‘advocating’ anything. Anticipating, yes. Assuming that MA will not give Rafa ‘every last penny’ but merely advocating, if you will, that imho it will be enough to keep Rafa at the club.

    Rafa sees the long game. I’m hoping that he has turned a corner with MA and that no funds at all will be increased to a small amount of funds. Rafa doesn’t want to go anywhere else. He wants to stay with his adoring fans and the club with the greatest untapped potential in the EPL. That is how I read the situation. How on earth do you twist that into me being a “club policy apologist”?

    Get a grip betty.

    As for regrouping to plan my next strategy, actually I usually stop posting between 9pm and 9:30 to spend the rest of the evening with my wife, who will have finished watching Strictly or whatever by then.

  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #3


    And another thing. You then stated “Now Jane appears to try and clean up Pain’s mess as he has often done for her !”

    The last time you accused Jane and Jib of being one and the same, I asked “If I started a rumour that you and Mr. Tuff we’re both the same poster how would you go about refuting it?” You replied with “Pain……..It seems strange that you had a proper go at me a while back when you vehemently defended Jane despite a series of posts where she defended club policy and Ashley and now you’re at it again.”

    Actually, I was not having a go at you or Mister Tuff on either occasion. And I wasn’t really defending Jane. I just asked how you yourself would react to accusations of being a multiple based on the flimsiest of evidence. Your suspicions, and Mister Tuff’s, seemed to me to be spurious and far-fetched. You both pointed to what you considered was obvious, irrefutable proof of multiplicity and support of Ashley in Jane’s posts but I just don’t see it. Maybe I’m blind. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m thick. But I just cannot see any justification for your accusations. Much the same as last night’s response. Anyway, nothing personal and no offence intended.

    But if I had to defend Jane, I would point out that I have never detected any hint of malicious contempt in her writing style. She and Jib are like chalk and cheese.

  • bettyswallocks

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #4

    Pain in the Blog……… Hmmmmmmm ok if you say so, but you’re obviously quite a cunning linguist.

  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #5

    Haha. Cunning linguist. I haven’t heard that one for over fifty years. I gave you a heart for that.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #6

    Hoping Muto is ready to start getting regular game time as well he has pace , movement and a good work ethic!

    Wouldn’t mind seeing as do a 424 with Rondon, Almiron , Muto and Perez as the front 4 all of them are prepared to track back so we wouldn’t get cut open might be a bit too attacking for Rafa though!

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #7

    Been quiet on here last couple of days. Surprising seeing as we have more to crow about now than at any point since we secured our PL status last March / April.

    Victory vs reigning PL Champions
    Record signing
    Rafa being able to bring in two players he obviously wanted
    Ending another very difficult series of fixtures outside the relegation zone.
    The prospect of a series of fixtures which we can expect to win or at least compete in, hopefully allowing us to climb the table.
    The emergence of a young Geordie footballer who looks the part against some of the best the League has to throw at him.

    Things are looking a little more rosey currently, even discounting any takeover prospects, real or imagined.

    Maybe folk prefer it when we have loads to complain about, rather than having plenty to celebrate?

  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #8

    Jail (from las night),

    I have to disagree with you that Rafa will walk to avoid tying himself into another binding contract with Ashley. I think he really wants to stay and make this work. He has been tied to contracts all of his working life and will try to ensure that the next one with MA will be more favourable. The alternative is to sign a contract with another owner of another club. It might be better but then again, it might not.

    Rafa is a pragmatist. I honestly think that his ‘project’ at NUFC means too much to him to leave unless his position becomes too unpleasant and I think he is some way off that.

    And I’m not supporting MA’s behaviour. I’m supporting Rafa’s behaviour. Just in case there is any confusion.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #9

    It’s also positive that Rafa feels we can attack more effectively, without damaging our efforts to contain opposition teams. Even the most ardent Rafa fan will admit that the footy we’ve seen this season has been poor more often that we’d like.

    If we can get a bit more precision in the transition between attack and defence, Rondon will see more chances and score more goals, while other players will see more opportunities to break forward supporting the attack, knowing their efforts are more likely to be rewarded.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #10

    Pain in the Blog, another factor which I have mentioned before but is worth repeating is that Rafa has been chasing Almiron for a year, according to his agent. Almiron has cited Rafa as one of the reasons he chose NUFC.

    For Rafa to abandon Miggy after a few short months at the club and move to pastures new just does not seem likely.

  • hibbit

    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #11

    nowts really changed though has it,
    we still have ashLIE holding us back,
    Rafa staying is still in doubt,one signing and a loan = season ticket renewals.

  • toon22

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #12

    Still defending MA


  • carltoon

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #13

    Raffa did say “he doesn’t take players home with him”.

  • Lovem or Hatem

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #14

    @ Hibbit

    I would hope people would have more sense to be won over by one signing and a loan signing

  • Rob1971

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #15

    Robleenio, Keegan left us not long after we had signed Alan Shearer, Rafa has already stated he does not take the players with him after he has left a club, I doubt that will have any bearing on his decision to stay or leave the club, he will only stay if he gets everything he wants written into a contract

  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #16

    Rob #10,

    I agree that Rafa would be unlikely to ‘abandon’ Miggy and Barreca after probably giving them assurances that he wants to stay. But I think it’s more than that. I believe that he is starting to see the shape of the team approach his vision. He now has the makings of a good counter-attacking team. Hopefully from now on it will be a matter of improving each position a bit at a time. If he leaves he’ll have to start over again.

    We have to bear in mind that Rafa never seems to be as upset by Ashley’s treatment of him as we, the fans, are.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #17

    hibbit, agreed nothing tangible has changed, Ashley still casts his malign influence on the club, Rafa is not yet secured on a new deal, issues remain at the club from Academy to infrastructure to Commercials to our relationship with Sports Direct. I still expect thousands will cancel their season tickets, so if the signings are to prevent that, they may have failed.

    Barreca may be a loan, but we have an option to buy. We don’t know what the trigger is for that, so if he makes 10 appearances between now and May then he may automatically become our player, as Merino did after we were promoted. That would be two senior permanent signings. Still not the full backing we would hope for, but perhaps we can hope it’s a sign of things to come.

  • lesh

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #18


    ‘But if I had to defend Jane, I would point out that I have never detected any hint of malicious contempt in her writing style. She and Jib are like chalk and cheese.’

    Jib and Jane make the perfect double act – the same person don’t you think?

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #19

    “We have to bear in mind that Rafa never seems to be as upset by Ashley’s treatment of him as we, the fans, are.”

    Yep, agreed – we do transfer our own frustrations and grievances onto Rafa without any justification from him at times. We also forget that he’s inside the club, we’re on the outside and things may look completely different from his perspective, depending on conversations we are not and cannot be privy to.

  • ToonRich

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #20

    Could Kenyon not arrange a loan from Barclays to out the FCB!? Or better still, a fan based consortium arrange the loan to get him out and then the fans choose who we want the club sold to!!

    Oh look…there goes a pig passing my window!

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #21

    Rob1971, fair point but I don’t think you can compare the signing of Shearer, who would have come home whoever was manager as long as he could wear the black and white stripes, with Almiron, who has crossed the Atlantic at the behest of Rafa specifically.

    Also, Keegan is a passionate animal, given to making decisions on impulse. Rafa is far more calculating and will stick to a long-term plan. Having seen Almiron as part of that plan, I don’t see him chucking away the rest of it.

  • Lovem or Hatem

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #22

    Does anyone know when Ashley is making his announcement about what is going on with the takeover?

  • toon22

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #23

    Rafas not stupid

  • Jib

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #24

    I agree I have nothing but contempt for
    many posters on here , but I don’t think I’m malicious.
    A lot do post on here with nothing but malice in their hearts
    blogs were ever thus.

  • Belfast

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #25

    I would take what the agent says with a big pinch of salt to be honest. From what I can gather his agent was touting him around England and Italy and we were the only club willing to take a punt on him at that price.
    I don’t believe highly sought after players with four or five different options move on the last day of the transfer window.

    Excuse my cynicism. 🙂

  • ben.g

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #26


    No probs, hadn’t seen the article posted elsewhere. Thought it was interesting

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #27

    Guardian – Almirón sees size of creative challenge

    Newcastle played well in their 1-0 defeat at Tottenham. They kept their 5-4-1 shape, compressed the space, made it hard for the home side and threatened three times on the counterattack. It was a typical Rafael Benítez performance in which he tried to optimise the attributes of the players at his disposal. But as the manager himself noted, his team had to be better on the ball. The dearth of creativity in central midfield was plain. This is where Miguel Almirón comes in. The £21m club-record signing from Atlanta United missed the game because his visa had not come through and, when he makes his debut at Wolves next week, there will be pressure on him to lift the aesthetic. But the attacking midfielder has not played since 8 December while the difference between the MLS and Premier League is seismic. Almirón cannot be expected to transform things overnight.
    David Hytner

  • Pain in the Blog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #28

    lesh #18,

    Yes, I agree that Jib and Jane make a good double act for light-hearted comedic banter. Precisely because they are so unalike. However…

    Their writing styles are poles apart. Whatever device Jib writes on cannot seem to manage a line of text exceeding half a dozen words and it has been like that as long as I can remember. He can, however, manage to capitalise the beginning of sentences which Jane struggles with. And Jib cannot criticise or disagree with anyone without adding a huge dollop of bilious scorn (OK, Jib, maybe not malice). Jane, on the other hand, is always measured and polite.

    What started this multiple rumour and continues to fan the flames is that both Jane and Jib regularly pounce on the more ridiculous accusations against MA. When posters don’t or cannot see any shades of grey this is seen as a watertight irrefutable defence of Ashley and his regime. In essence, of course, it is actually just ridiculing poorly thought out statements.

    I remember a young Robbie Coltrane’s Ulster Orangeman character proving categorically that the pope was evil. “Spell his name backwards. Epop. A four lettered word that is very similar to Evil. I rest my case”.

    That’s about the level of reasoning applied to the Jib/Jane debate. Not the same person in my humble opinion. Not that it really matters.

  • lesh

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #29

    Pain in the Blog

    You may not have noticed the odd occasions when Jib and Jane have been exchanging posted comments and have slipped up by confusing who said what to whom. Whoops!

    An easy mistake to make when one’s not fully focused but they’ve been well and truly catched a few times.

  • Jib

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #30

    The difference in quality between the MLS and PL
    may be seismic (how poetic) but the difference in
    fitness levels is negligible.
    These journos have either forgotten or never knew
    he had a full season in Argentina’s Primera División.

  • DubaiMicky

    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #31

    I reckon Almirón will be on the bench against Wolves, give him a 30 minute run out.

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #32

    Express – Wolves will head to the Spanish Costa del Sol resort after Tuesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Shrewsbury Town at Molineux – and return shortly before next Monday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United, also at Molineux.

    Last January the players travelled immediately after a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest amid their worst run of the season of four winless matches. They returned to produce three successive wins to get their Championship title challenge back on track. Nuno memorably said at the time of the trip that he and his players needed some Vitamin D.

  • lesh

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #33


    There’s no consistency in the layout of Jib’s posts and it’ll not bevthe device he writes on that seems unable to manage a line of text exceeding half a dozen words – it’s when he’s copied the pasted stuff and hasn’t checked the layout – probably in too much of a hurry to be clever!

  • lesh

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #34


    And being a narcissist, Jib’ll be loving the attention he’s getting.

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #35

    Rafa is going to struggle with who sits on the bench!

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #36

    Almiron is most likely to get his first start at home to Hudds.

  • Jib

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #37

    A common device of the ignorant –
    if you are struggling to think of anything
    to say – have a go at a fellow blogger with
    a nice conspiracy theory.

    I told Ancient ages ago that I struggled with
    pagination on one of my devices while abroad
    and got into the habit of chopping up my sentences.

  • Jib

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #38

    Surprise us all and do a footy post

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #39


    #Wolverhamton Express & Star

  • Rob1971

    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #40

    Thing is though Robleenio Rafa hasn’t had a chance to implement his long term plan since he got here, this is the first time since we got promoted that he has been backed with one of his main targets, I can’t believe Joselu was a first choice target after getting promotion, same as manquillo etc, I will be amazed if this one signing has suddenly convinced him Ashley will back him long term


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