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Rafa – Morale Is Fine – Burnley A Difficult Game – Praise For Rondon And Longstaff

Rafa has rightly said that Burnley will be a difficult game tomorrow night with Burley having come into good form this year.

They are currently 2 points and one place above Newcastle in the league table, and so if we can get the win tomorrow night we will climb above them by 10:00pm tomorrow night

But there’s no doubt about it – the Clarets are currently a team in form and beat Tottenham 2-1 at home on Saturday.

Rafa was also asked about two of our current stars – Salomon Rondon who has 8 goals on the season and local North Shields lad Sean Longstaff who has probably been our best player over the last 8 games.

Rafa doesn’t want any additional pressure put on Sean, but he seems to be taking everything in his stride and not getting carries away.

Sean Longstaff with Rafa Benitez
Rafa has to be delighted with the 21-year-old this season

This is some of what Rafa has said in his press conference today:

“Morale is fine. Everybody is almost fit, we are winning, we play well, we create chances, but there is a problem for me because I have to make a decision about the matchday squad.”

“But everyone is training well. Everyone are great professionals. Only Clark/Elliot out”

“We did well at this stage last year and we know how difficult Burnley will be.” “We approach this game with no complacency.”

“We had control against Huddersfield, which is not just about possession, and we created chances. I hope we can do that again and carry on”

“We knew what we were looking for, we knew him (Rondon) and that he had experience in the Premier League.”

“You have to make decisions.” “We knew Salomon would give us mobility and he is good in the air.”

“He was desperate to come here, so he is someone who has proved he can do a job for the team”

“”He (Longstaff) was doing well in training sessions, and I told him he had to stay until January.”

“He is doing really well and he has been really good.”  “In an ideal world, you want players coming from the Academy, keep getting better, and so now let’s not put pressure on him”

“We need him (Longstaff) to stay calm to keep doing well, and not do many interviews so he can relax.”

We had 85% of fans think we could beat Huddersfield in our match poll, but that’s down to less than 60% against Burnley.

A draw would be a decent enough result, but wins are what we need to take us up the league table during the run-in to the season.

We could yet finish in the top ten if we can have a great run-in to this season.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Burnley?

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Comments welcome.

46 comments so far

  • jayphoto

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #1

    So what you’re saying Rafa is: Aye pet, that longstaff is actually the love child of bobby charlton and Michael Carrick and is miles better than declan rice and if definately the future winner of the 2020 Balon D’or and the player of the tournament at Euro 2020…. that’s how i read it any how…

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #2

    Jay I woukdnt be too fast to jettison shelvey unless a decent offer comes in and rafa can strengthen the wingbacks or a sub striker for Rondon. He’s a poor enough tackler with an iffy temperament but any guy who can pass like that…. One guy I still love is Ki and that’s why I was asking if rafa would have tried him if shelvey was fit. (cue Jail shouting that I hate rafa),. Either way I love the way ki moves and plays, but not sure him and lobby offer the hard defensive element that rafa rightly likes. Am very confident re Burnley. I’m going for 3-1 or 3_2. After a terrible first 15, which I rightly called muck – they had about 70%possession – we improved so much and the move to set up almiron chip was wonderful. Fat boy, give rafa 40-50 mill in the summer for more pace and quality please.

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #3

    …. And then watch us take off. Defensively tight with searing pace on the break. Yum yum.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #4

    joking aside, Longstaff is undroppable atm… doesn’t matter if hes from the academy, he’s might have got a chance because of injury but hes retained his place on merit! Also, hes 21, hes at the age where he should have broken into the first team and be ready for a large amount of games, hes been out on loan etc, hes now shown hes cut out for the first team squad, that should be it, no more loans etc, hes past that in development now, he should be considered a permanent fixture in the first team squad.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #5

    @Munster- I actually think (cue shouts of derision) that if Longstaff was to fall out of the first 11, it’d be Ki that came in, not Shelvey. Suits the system more, more of a leader too, more dependable etc Only way i see shelvey coming back in is if we go 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1, the first 2 don’t suit Almiron so can’t see it and the 4-2-3-1 would see rafa have to drop Perez and I can’t see that either whilst everyones fit…

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #6


    Well that’s the thing as a front 3 Rondon , Perez and Almiron will be a nightmare for teams who like to build from the back as they chase everything down coupled with Hayden and Longstaff hounding from just behind that’s a team set up for a battle!!

  • DubaiMicky

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #7

    My ten penneth for what it’s worth; whenever we play with Shelvey the whole of the midfield seems to go through him, as in he’s the first person they pass too. Now that was OK earlier this season and for most of last, but I think the team has moved on and Shelvey is down the pecking order. His temperament hasn’t helped much either.

    Anyway, what do we know, Rafa’s forgotten more than our combined knowledge.

  • martoon

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #8

    Munster Mag @2 -You’re right for about the first 10 minutes of the Huddersfield game we couldn’t get near the ball – they were knocking it around really well – obviously something they had been working on with their new manager. However they were doing nothing with it and never looked threatening – they never got in the penalty area, never had a shot, never got behind us. In fact when we finally did get the ball we created a couple of half chances and then the Miggy chip so it’s not always about possession!

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #9

    Possession may be nine tenths of the law but it’s worth about one tenth of bugger all in a Rafa Benitez football team.

    Rafa plays to a different set of rules and he’s been successful at it for his entire career.

    Those dissenting voices need to get off their high horses and get behind Rafa, his tactics and his team. If the fat man cannot get behind Rafa then we need to do so and show him how United we can be.


  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #10

    U23s in action tonight vs Leeds in the premier League cup, a competition we have already advanced in but Leeds need to win. Victory for us will confirm us as group winners so there’s an incentive for the lads to do well.

    Big game, difficult given they’ve lost Sorensen Longstaff and Barlasser since January. The lads who’ve come in have done very well though and we should be confident.

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #11

    Jib, re Hillsborough. One of the major problems the police face – indeed, the entire judicial system – is that often people who are clearly not suited for the position are promoted beyond their capabilities, based entirely on how far up the local Lodge master’s backside they are and not on what skills they bring the position.
    As has been noted throughout modern history, it is easier for a Mason to be promoted ahead of an often far more gifted colleague, which is one of their greatest recruitment policies. “The Mafia of the Mediocre” describes it best. It also helps having colleagues who have sworn these blood curdling oaths having your back if you do cut corners.
    The judiciary – every part of it – is the last place you need secret societies. There can be no place for secret societies in the judiciary because it attracts corruption. It is not just a place for silly behaviour whilst they get pissed either.
    The argument that its a harmless club that does great charity work has been destroyed repeatedly. It does great charity work and the lower level masons are generally harmless, but once you get to the higher echelons, where corruption can make a big difference, it generally does.
    Promotion in every section of society should be based purely and entirely on your ability, not what lodge you belong to or who you know.
    There have been repeated calls for the charges against senior officers in this case be dropped. Some have I believe. But these officers applied for these jobs and wanted the kudos and salary increase that came with them. Clearly, they weren’t up to it. Their pathetic attempts at crowd control resulted in the nightmare that was Hillsborough. If they’re found guilty, I hope they rot in jail. They were warned about this by a number of lucky escapes previously. They failed to learn from the lessons. The entire chain of command that day should have been investigated thoroughly. Bit late now.
    Will lessons be learned? They already have been thank god. Wherever the public’s safety is involved, senior officials need to have their skills constantly reassessed.
    My dad was a Mason, so it’s nothing personal. He happily admitted he wanted to join in order the get better contracts! 🙂 We’d all like to give our brother better wages ahead of somebody else, but in reality, it shouldn’t work like that. In issues involving life and death situations, you need the best people on the job.
    Sadly, it won’t change. Never. The Labour Party has had plenty of chances to bring in legislation to remove secret societies from the judiciary and never has. If it has the potential to involve corruption, it should be removed. Masons have been involved in many high profile miscarriages of justice.
    Sorry for the politics, I’ll say no more about it, but as it involved our fellow supporters dying en masse, it is appropriate. We need to ensure it never happens again. That would be a step in the right direction.

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #13

    At todays presser Rafa Benitez was asked about safety targets and said:

    “Last year I was talking about 40, this year I think 38 could be fine.”

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #14

    USA sports networks
    beIN Sport
    and NBC
    have all changed their Tuesday
    and Saturday main game to NUFC
    versus Burnley and West Ham
    as the Miggy effect kicks in

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #15

    right who’s doing the countdown to the match ? …

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #16

    not me i’m as thick as mince …

  • martoon

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #17

    Jib @12

    I like these stats:
    Burnley have not won at Newcastle in five attempts since April 1976.
    Benitez is unbeaten in his five league matches against English managers this season, winning the last three in a row.

    Not so keen on this stat:
    The Clarets have not lost a Premier League game in which Tom Heaton has played since August 2017 (against West Brom).

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #18

    is Tom Heaton from HEATON just thought i’d ask like lmao…

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #19

    me too

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #20

    Tom he probably is from a Heaton
    He was born in Cheshire and
    there is a Heaton in Bolton

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #21

    I’ve been disappointed with Shelveys performances for a while.

    I cant see him getting back in the team, Leigune Schar and Fernandez can all ping a long ball and Shelvey offers little else so why waste a cm spot for something your side already has.

    Longstaff and Hayden have developed a decent little partnership and will be hard to shift, I see Ki and Diame getting game time before Shelvey.

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:20 PM

    Comment #22

    27 hours 38 minutes to KO

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:21 PM

    Comment #23

    And Longstaffs passing ain’t a kick in the arse away from Shelveys.

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #25

    jib …

    i was having a daft moment mate been stuck in a walk in centre all morning …

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #26

    would like to see Shelvey on the bench get on for the last 15 / 20 mins ping some long range passes for wor faster players to get on the end of …

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #27

    Martoon, stats are stats, but if we play like we have been recently, there’s no reason we can’t beat Burnley.
    I have warned against any complacency because they are, after all, unbeaten for about eight games and just beat Spurs, but we beat City and have been unlucky in games we haven’t won, so they should be more concerned than we are.
    For a bottom end game though, it has the potential to be a really good match. Both teams on form and both needing the result. It has draw written all over it sadly! 🙂
    Except for the Miggy factor. Seeing somebody on TV and watching them live are totally different. TV slows them down. I remember watching Theo Walcott on TV and thinking he was sharp, but then seeing him play live was a real eye-opener. Same with Miggy. He looks quick on TV anyway, but he looks like a different animal in real life. I can see a certain SMB being the second player to see red for a foul on Miggy. He won’t be able to catch him, that’s for certain and will Bardsley even be able to resist taking him out at SJP? Just hope he doesn’t injure him but I can guarantee now he’ll try. Like I say – SMB

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #28

    Bobby …

    you recovered from the match yet mate ?…

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #29

    Tom, truthfully, not really, I’m sore from top to bottom right now, but knew I would be before I went. I’m sat with my legs up waiting for the ODI to start.
    Now, if you’re wondering will I be going tomorrow – definitely! 🙂 Wednesday can take care of itself. I got downstairs today, I can get out the door tomorrow.
    Can’t wait tbh. Its in TV but I’m one who would go even if I could watch it as a hologram on the living room floor. 🙂 Being part of the crowd when the ball hits the back of the net – priceless.
    It was worth being there on Saturday purely for Miggy’s send off when Rafa subbed him late on. SJP never ceases to amaze me.

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #30

    bobby …

    be careful mate…

    cant fault you mate wish i could get to the match maybe when my health improves back to the docs at 10 past 7 tonight long story but i will put it on here when i get sorted …

    hoping they dont send me to A&E tonight…

  • hibbit

    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #31

    well said Bobby them bums on seats will be what keeps Rafa at St James not the lunatic’s on here calling for Rafa’s head

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #32

    got my 7 year grandaughter here at the moment…she’s autistic loves music she know we used to do karaoke for a living … when she comes out of her own little world she just came out with Granda will you sing that song off LE MIS by Phillip Quast ( stars ) broke my heart the little bugger … so looks like i’ve got a new song to learn … lucky i like the song anyway …

    not football related …

  • Toonces

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:24 PM

    Comment #33

    Burnley seem to have rediscovered their old intensity and aggression in their defensive system that Dyche had them play with over the past few seasons and lost first half of this one. Makes them tough to play against and they seem to have more confidence with Heaton back in goal and their 8 game unbeaten run coincides with that. Would like to see us play with a similar intensity from the get go as at times we have that slow start and seem to need to find our way into games. We need to be very good defending set pieces and take advantange of ours. But Burnley are not Barcelona and we are on a good run of form ourselves. Looking forward to a well earned Newcastle victory on Tuesday. HWTL!

  • Mindshaft

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #34

    Well the form table shows Burnley in 4th place with us in 9th and just 2 points separating us so definitely a winnable game although a draw wouldn’t be a disaster.

    Brighton are in free fall, hope for Hughtons sake he can pull the team out of it and survive (albeit not at the expense of toon )

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #35

    Hope all goes well Tom. Doesn’t sound great. When your health dominates your life it leaves little room for anything else. My football is what keeps me going, even though it knacks me going. I hope you get back to watching again mate, best medicine I’ve got! 🙂 And were crap lmao. A cup winning team would have me performing cartwheels 🙂

    Hibbett, damn right mate. Then, look at the stick Dubs got from certain sections on here compared to his reception both ends of the ground.
    I want him to stay more than anything. I still think he believes he can build a team to win a trophy, despite Ashley, and clearly he can’t think he’s that far short now he’s got Miggy and cover for left back.
    All he needs is a team not fighting against relegation every season and he can target cups. If he’s allowed to strengthen in the summer, he can have that team as soon as next season.
    It depends on Ashley again. And if there’s one thing you can’t depend on, it’s Ashley.
    But all you can so is hope he sells up or finally realises he’ll get a better price for a successful team. We’re only a few players short of a team capable of winning a cup, provided PL survival is assured. Injuries return and a couple of additions and we look a different beast. A few more, with his nous, and we can tackle a trophy. But we need him here.

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #36

    Tom, priceless mate. 🙂

  • DubaiMicky

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #37

    Not wanting to be a cynical chap, however, the fact that Miggy is now getting USA channels to focus on him rather than other options just shows how big the media pull is, so him, Ki and Muto…. Or am I being a cynical old twat?

  • WarrenBartonCentreParting

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #38

    I think Rafa will stay, after the recent treatment other managers have received from fans/players/owners, I think Rafa and especially his family realise that he will never be held in such esteem at any other club in the world as he is by the Newcastle faithful, no matter what he wins.. he is a fantastic coach and a fantastic person.. sign please Rafael

    On another note.. surely we must have two of the quickest players in the Premiership in Yedlin and Almiron.. ?

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #39

    bobby …

    you never know mate before the end of the season i have a run up sit next to have a good chin wag mate …

    Bobby gotta warn you before hand though i suffer from excessive flatulence …

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    Comment #40

    i may have a run up#39


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