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How Rafa Changed The Game At Half Time And In That Second Half

What often gets forgotten is that Rafa Benitez has the ability as a coach to sum up a game quickly and see what’s happening.

He is one of the best touchline managers in the game, and he has proved that many times in his sparkling career.

Rafa proved that on Saturday afternoon when he orchestrated a win after we were 2-0 down after 32 minutes.

That was the first time we had come back from two goals down to win a Premier League game in over 15 years.

The last time was back in October 2003 when we were 2-0 down to Fulham after only 8 minutes but came back to win that game 3-2 with the help of a second-half brace from Alan Shearer.

The great Sir Bobby Robson was the manager at the time.

Rafa Benitez talking to Jonjo Shelvey before he came on after 79 minutes

This is how Rafa explained what happened at halftime and in the second half that got us the vital 3 points – as reported in the Chronicle today:

“We need two more wins now, but I had thought one would be enough.”

“To see the reaction of our players in front of the fans was amazing.”

“Before, we were losing at home, but now we’re winning – and, to win five in a row at home, we have to be delighted.”

“It was quite difficult because we didn’t play as badly as you think when you’re 2-0 down at half-time.”

“The team was OK. We made some mistakes and we missed the penalty, but still, we had chances – Ayoze had a chance.”

“To go in 2-0 down after missing a penalty, you have to keep the players believing they can do it.”

“I told the players to stay calm, analyze what we have to do and that, if we score one, we’ll be back in the game.”

“Later on we were fine, controlling the game but not creating too much.”

“Then we changed to four at the back, moved Matt Ritchie to more of a winger and we had more control of the second balls and created more.”

Brighton, Cardiff, and Southampton all won on Saturday, and it was the excellent and unexpected 2-0 home win by Cardiff against the Hammers that kept us only 6 points above the drop zone.

Fulham and Huddersfield both lost again, and they both look doomed.

And Burnley were beaten at Liverpool yesterday 4-2 and are now tied with the Saints on 30 points and only 2 points above the drop zone.

10West Ham38-352
12Crystal Palace38-249

There’s still one team to be relegated, and it could be between Cardiff City, Southampton, and Burnley although nobody in the bottom half of the table are safe yet with still 8 games to play.

We need to go all out for the win against Bournemouth on Saturday, and that will take us above the Cherries on goal difference in the league – so there’s a great incentive right there.

It was an uplifting second half display from our lads on Saturday and another fabulous win – our 9th of the season and our 5th this year.

Comments welcome.

9 comments so far

  • ronaldo aarons

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #1

    ronaldo aarons
    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:13 PM
    Comment #14
    Yeah a few sources on Twitter but also https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/how-ayoze-perez-brink-joining-15950964

    Currently on 27 premier league goals, 42 goals in total. So basically 8 until the big 50 for us and 6 more until he is our 4 highest goal scorer in premier league era.

    That’s the key, premier league era, as obviously football didn’t exist before that

    I think it’s a testament to him but also doesn’t look great on ourselves that we haven’t had many goal scorers that stayed long enough to score more.

    In reflection though, he’s only really played out and out striker in his first season. He’s onto building a great reputation for himself at this club.
    Yeah so as you know when you hear stats they can be misleading, seems this is strictly PL goals not just goals for Newcastle in premier league era.

    Still good though.

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #2

    Hoping for a triple celebration on Saturday.
    Toon to beat Bournemouth
    Taffys’ to beat the Irish in the rugby.
    Lastly (late ko) England whopping the Jocks in the Rugby.

    Link to the Welsh National anthem –

  • martoon

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #3

    ronaldo – I’ve noticed, these days, that a lot of stats refer to the Premiere League era only – as you say as if football didn’t exist before that!

    Also re. Perez – I’ve always been a supporter of his on here while acknowledging that he can be very frustrating. I think Almiron definitely helps his game and takes the pressure off him to produce chances. However there will still be future games where he drives us crazy but I think we have to remember he only cost about £1.5m – to get a player who produces every week you have to pay about 20 times that figure!

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #4

    Download your Welsh flags and bunting from here :-


  • sing in the corner

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #5

    From earlier..

    I know what you’re saying but I don’t think Rafa’s backroom staff needing to have employment is a huge issue in the medium term. Like for Rafa for his staff I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities to earn a crust while more permanent situations are sorted out. I’m sure they wouldn’t starve or be destitute,and would prefer Rafa gets what he wants so they can all prosper together.

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #6

    I can’t claim to have been a big supporter of Perez on here, but I’ve certainly not slagged him off. I think his potential was there for all to see, he just had some (very) annoying habits, like going to ground too easily, being over-elaborate on the ball and not looking for his team mates.

    I think all of these are solved when he has more confidence, he starts playing the game like we all know he can. I think the largest part of frustration with him is that he doesn’t do that more consistently.

    That said, congratulations on his well-deserved man of the match award. I see he’s also in some European team of the week or other, which may have some of the Continental big boys and the Spanish National team starting to glance at him more readily.

  • sing in the corner

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #7

    *Rafas staff ‘…needing to have immediate / continuous employment’ I meant

  • lochinvar

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #8

    Well said Garth Crooks from his Team of the Week selection:

    Ayoze Perez: So, Marco Silva is the latest manager who thinks he can abuse the referee due to his team’s inability to protect a two-goal lead and his goalkeeper’s crisis in confidence?
    Well, I can tell him that it wasn’t Lee Mason who was responsible for his team’s complete meltdown but Ayoze Perez.
    The Spaniard ran Everton ragged, never lost his nerve and never gave up. Unlike Everton.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Mar 11, 2019 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #9

    Think in the next couple years we’ll be seeing a more consistent and better Perez. Hes 25 now and He’ll be hitting prime imo as he’s never been one to rely on speed and usually the issue is a case of decision making and end product.

    I’ve defended him a lot on here because I think he has been addressing the end product issue. He has created quite a few chances but if they’re not taken then they’re forgotten about and it’s put down to having a poor game or having no impact.

    I just read a few stats about him moving up the record charts and find it quite surprising.


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