Confidence had been growing amongst Newcastle supporters, disciplined displays helping to produce victories at Bristol City and Derby County, whilst Reading and Brighton were comfortably dispatched at St James Park.
There were definitely signs of improvement week on week but…still a consensus amongst fans that there was surely more to come.
Loftus Road on Tuesday night.
Fair to say a good few black and whites fancied that this could be a bit of a banana skin, a tight ground and the West London side doing ok so far, maybe a point wouldn’t be such a bad result.
Bang! Six goals later, as well as now over 500 minutes since a goal was conceded.
The previous run of results had been promising but this was something else, the biggest home league defeat in QPR’s entire history.
Any normal person doesn’t now suddenly believe that every remaining match will be quite so easy/dominant – but it does create an expectation.
There won’t be calls for all out attack every match but now the genie is out of the bottle, you can’t realistically try and force it back in.
Maybe Aleksandar Mitrovic was key to the stepping up at QPR, if the Serbian striker plays then it makes sense that you need to get other players further up the pitch, in and around him. Mitrovic isn’t going to outrun the defence and finish like Dwight Gayle did for the only goal at Bristol City.
The overall reality is likely that Rafa Benitez wanted to make sure his team was well drilled in the art of defending, before gently loosening the restraints and letting his players express themselves a little more.
As we are now becoming used to, the permutations of which eleven players will start today are endless.
A mainstay of pre-match pub conversations is guessing the team and never has it being more difficult to predict than now – the only team selection that matters to Rafa Benitez though is a winning one.