Rafa Benitez said after the game: ‘a big risk to keep a player with problems on the pitch’.

Watching from the stands it looked like all of the Newcastle players had ‘problems on the pitch’ and needed put out of their misery.

On this occasion Rafa Benitez was referring specifically to Steven Taylor and replacing him at half-time, Rafa claiming that Taylor had ‘felt a little bit stiff’ and so had taken him off to prevent a potential injury.

I think many of us will suspect that Benitez is simply being very kind here and trying to protect the United defender.

Steven Taylor’s defending was definitely stiff, if it had been any stiffer they’d have been tempted to stick him in a wooden box and a permanent departure from this world, as well as Newcastle United playing duties.

Taylor of course is just one of the countless problems the Newcastle Manager has, this result and performance just the latest of many that we have seen from these players, both this season and previous ones, in many case – especially the likes of Steven Taylor.

Rafa Benitez says that half-time on Sunday was ‘the angriest I have been…so far’ – I think we all fear that barring a miracle, Rafa will go beyond that angry level in the coming weeks.

Rafa Benitez:

Steven Taylor felt a little bit stiff so I think it was a big risk to keep a player with problems on the pitch, especially with the problems that we have in defence.

“So we had to change him, and that’s it.

“At half-time, that could be the angriest I have been…so far.

“It is not a question though of shouting – but saying the right things. You have got to be upset and I was,  I was telling them that the first half was not acceptable.

“We had to change and start with commitment, passion and character, we had to change players – move some.

“It was obvious we couldn’t win with this mentality, playing in this way – my concern was that I couldn’t believe how we started the first half after all the hard work the players did during the week.

“The games at home are crucial for us and so we have to approach them as one.

“The confidence must improve a lot, we have to get three points (v Swansea) and then that can change everything if we are capable of doing that.

“It is not a time to complain and blame each other, it is a time to realise we have to stick together.

“We have four games at home and this is the key if we want to stay in the Premier League.”

(To read the instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to the Southampton match go HERE)