Rafa Benitez admits that his team made mistakes on Saturday but has a solution.
The United boss wants his players to kick-off at Brighton with the same determination they showed in the second-half against Bristol City, when a point was earned but it should really have been three with United so dominant in the final stages.
Rafa Benitez has also demanded the ‘same attacking football’ from Saturday’s second-half and the need to create chances.
It is ironic that despite many fans believing that the Manager sets his team/formation up too negatively, Newcastle have scored more goals at home than any other Championship club, plus the same story away from St James Park.
United have now scored 37 at home with Brighton next best on 36, then away from home NUFC have managed 27 with Fulham next highest on 25.
It is sometimes difficult to gauge whether it is tactics or the players to blame, or both, when we see a first half like that against Bristol City.
Are the possession first and foremost tactics leading to these occasions where United get nowhere fast for long periods and end up inviting pressure on themselves? Or is it the execution of the plan by the players, with ponderous passing and slow thinking sending the Manager’s planning off the rails?
It will be interesting to see how the game unfolds because despite only 37% of the possession v Reading on Saturday, Brighton won 3-0.
In their other home matches against clubs in the top six they have also won all three of them but had only 46% possession v Sheff Wed (won 2-1) and 49% v Huddersfield (won 1-0).
The only exception being 60% of the ball for the Seagulls v Leeds when Brighton won 2-0.
The way the match is looking, Newcastle could well have more of the ball…but who will have more goals?
“Our away record means that we can go and play against anyone trying to win.
“In football, you never know, but we will try to win.
“It is important to have the belief that we can do it because we have done it during the whole season,
“We know that we made mistakes (v Bristol City) but because the reaction was so good, you have to think about the positives.
“We have to try and play in the same way that we did in that second half, with the same determination and with the same attacking football, trying to create chances.
“He (Chris Hughton) is doing a great job and he has a very good team, a team who have been in the play-offs three times in the last four years, so they have the experience and the squad to be there.
“The players know that every game is important and we still have a lot of games (13) to play.
“They have all the information but they all react in one way or another way.
“My job is to keep sending the right message – we have to keep doing things in the same way – training well, sticking together, helping each other.
“You could see the reaction of our fans (v Bristol City) and it is the same situation now, going away with our fans behind the team.
“We are really please with that and the best way to say thank you is to give everything on the pitch and try to win.”