Rafa Benitez has described Barnsley as ‘dangerous’ opponents tonight.
The United boss says that he was impressed when watching them a number of weeks ago and describes them as a team who are ‘scoring goals and they are not conceding too many’. Rafa Benitez appearing to have more confidence in tonight’s opposition than many Barnsley fans, judging by comments that you can read HERE.
Things have changed a little since Rafa was watching Barnsley and their short season so far, already has the look of a one of two halves.
After an opening day 4-2 defeat to Ipswich, Barnsley won five of their next six Championship matches, only losing to then leaders Huddersfield. In those six games they scored 16 goals and only conceded 5.
However, the last five matches have seen four defeats and a draw, with only 5 goals scored and 11 conceded.
A big crowd with no doubt the home fans up for it, as 5,900 Geordies descend on Oakwell, it has all the makings of a very entertaining match and one with plenty of goals. How Newcastle handle the opening stages may be crucial, as Barnsley’s confidence looks set to go in one of two very different directions.
When it comes to selecting his own team, Rafa Benitez has promised to keep the surprises coming, stating ‘I like the competition’ for places in the starting eleven and ‘I like to rotate’.
The Newcastle boss insisting that the whole process is to ‘protect our players’ and ‘bring the best from them’.
“We did not change too many players in the last game (v Brentford). We changed two or three players because we think that we need fresh legs in some positions, and also because the other players can do well at the same time.
“I like the competition, I like to rotate if you have to do it but if you have players doing well, how much can they play? How many games in a row can they play? We have to decide.
“We have to protect our players and we have to bring the best from them. If they are doing well, sometimes we want to keep them, sometimes we change players even if they are doing well because their teammate can do better maybe for the next game. It’s just to be sure that we manage the squad.
“When you play two games a week, it’s important to go to the next one after winning, because you have more confidence and the right mentality.
“We have confidence in things that we are doing at the moment but at the same time, I told the players that this is a very dangerous game because Barnsley are a good team.
“They ae a team that play with high intensity and a high tempo, we have to be sure that we don’t go there with over confidence and start making mistakes, or making them believe that they can win.
“It’s a very dangerous game, because they are scoring goals and they are not conceding too many. They score goals and that is always dangerous.
“They attack, they create chances, they score goals. They play with a very high tempo, so it will not be easy. We know the Championship is a very difficult league, a very difficult competition, as are these kind of games.
“I remember watching them three or four weeks ago and I was impressed because of the intensity and the pace, so I think it will be tough.”