After only picking up one point from the last six, Rafa Benitez has named five areas where Newcastle need to improve, starting against league leaders Norwich on Wednesday night.
After wasting so many opportunities at Villa Park, including at least three sitters, Rafa says that his attacking players have to score more from them.
Meanwhile, the United boss says that the defence needs to improve after conceding three goals in the last two Championship matches, having previously ran up a series of clean sheets.
The midfield isn’t ignored either, with Rafa saying that his players need to control the game and ball better, no doubt especially thinking of that final 20/25 minutes against Aston Villa.
Rafa Benitez doesn’t leave himself out of the self-improvement plan either, saying that his tactics have to be looked at, as well as his substitutions. Very likely also referring back to Saturday, when Yedlin being forced off meant that Hayden had to drop in at right-back where he didn’t look comfortable and Tiote way off the pace in midfield.
On the injury front, Rafa has confirmed that Jack Colback is definitely ok, meaning he won’t have to rely on Cheick Tiote for back-up, whilst even better news is that he expects Saturday’s man of the match, DeAndre Yedlin to be available for Norwich.
Rafa Benitez pre-Norwich press conference:
“We have room for improvement….
“In attack, we have to take our chances.
“In the middle, we have to control the ball and the game a bit better.
“In defence, we have to defend better.
“The substitutions…everything – we can improve.
“It’s a question of doing things in the right way and we will be better.
“I think it’s important to understand that we have to carry on, we have to keep improving. We play at home (v Norwich) and hopefully we can win. It will be close but we have to carry on until the end.
“We have a lot of games to play. We have to stay calm, concentrate, try to do our jobs properly and keep winning games.
“We’ve played against Brighton, we’ve played against Bristol City and we’ve lost three games, so I think that every game in this league is very difficult. They are at the top of the table because they have a good team, the same manager, so they know each other really well, and they know exactly what to do.
“I think it will be a tough test, like the majority of them.
“More or less, we have the same situation (with injuries) that we had before (but now) Colback is training, he is fine.
“Yedlin left the pitch (v Villa) but I think he will be fine, he’s doing well in the training sessions, as are the majority of them, and he’s working hard. We knew about his potential, but it’s still too soon, too early, to praise him too much.
“I think he has to keep working hard. He has a very good mentality and he has to keep playing at the level he played at the other day, and to keep improving if he can.”