Rafa Benitez surveyed the wreckage of a shocking result and even worse performance at Portman Road.

The United boss having watched a display that was lacking any of the urgency or quality of what we had seen at St James Park on Friday.

After the game he acknowledged that he was ‘concerned about the change in my team’s performance from Leeds on Friday’ but then was puzzled to exactly how/why it had gone so pear-shaped.

Saying that his players were clearly ‘not focused and mentally ready’, he appeared as frustrated as the watching couple of thousand Newcastle fans who had made the trek.

As for identifying what caused this shocking performance, Rafa Benitez reacted with ‘we know something was wrong and now we have to analyse and change quickly’.

So lucky to see Huddersfield concede late against Derby or else the lead would have been cut to five points and a game in hand for the Terriers.

Only three matches left for Newcastle and on this display it is difficult to have any real confidence in NUFC gathering many more points, with more a reliance on the failings of others at the moment to give the Magpies a leg-up into the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez:

“I am concerned about the change in my team’s performance from Leeds on Friday to the performance today.

“We know we have to win our games and now we have to change and improve a lot.

“We knew it was going to be this kind of game but we were not ready – it seems we were not focused and mentally ready.

“We were not focused and mentally ready. When we were reacting, we scored the goal, and it seemed that we had more control of the game, but then we made another mistake.

“It’s difficult to explain but that was the reality.

“We made mistakes and we got paid for it. We have to all take responsibility, we win together and we lose together.

“I won’t blame my players in press conferences but they know what I told them at half-time and at the end, we know something was wrong and now we have to analyse and change quickly.

“We have played so many good games this season and now we have to play at the level we had before.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Murphy 62

Ipswich: Sears 42, McGoldrick 69, Huws 90+3

Possession was Ipswich 45% Newcastle 55%

Total shots were  Ipswich 9 Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Ipswich  3 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Ipswich 2 Newcastle 7

Referee: Tim Robinson

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin (Gamez 78), Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie (Mitrovic 82),  Hayden (Gouffran 61), Shelvey, Atsu, Diame, Murphy

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Perez, Mbemba, Colback

Crowd: 25,684 (Newcastle 2,000)

(Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – Latest example of Fergie Time disaster)

(Match Ratings of players for Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – see HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Ipswich defeat go HERE)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Paul Patterson

    Put simply, the manager got it wrong.
    It’s a bit galling to say you can’t understand the difference between Friday and yesterday, when five changes were made.
    Its stupidity.

    • 1957

      I think most of us would safely say the reason was changing half the team. Benitez never takes it on the chin and says I got it wrong.

  • Wor Lass

    Rafa did get it wrong yesterday but hindsight`s a wonderful thing. One of the things Liverpool fanns criticised him for was stubbornness and we can see that. Sticking with Diame and Lascelles just seems madness the way they`ve been playing but with Clark out and Perez and Mitro playing well but still not actually scoring he obviously feels that he`s got to vary things. I suppose he left Mbemba out because he was expecting lots of big aerial threats and he`s not great in the air – but he`s the only defender we`ve got who can carry the ball out of defence and beat a man. Very frustrating! I`m still convinced we`re going up and one more win could be enough to do it – but I reckon we could win all three and, with Brighton still to play Villa and Norwich, could still have a slim chance of the title.

    • Jezza

      Forget the title, we’re only just still clinging on to a slim chance of promotion in 2nd place, thanks to Derby’s late equaliser yesterday.

      • Wor Lass

        Don`t forget, I`m the optimist!

      • Wor Lass

        You`re right – I can`t see Brighton giving up top spot now even if we do win all three. I think we`ll go up but there`s only one person to blame for not winning the title and that`s the man who wouldn`t shell out in january. I`m still fearful about what`s likely to happen at the end of the season.

        • Jezza

          Yes if we’ve failed come the end of the season the history books will indicate that we blew it in April but I know that it was really all thrown away in January.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      NOPE !

      • Wor Lass

        I refer you to my reply to Jezza, below!

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Aye Ok then

  • Jimblag23

    The players pathetic slump luckily means there won’t be too much sentiment replacing them next year.
    Only Clark, Shelvey, Ritchie and Gayle actually deserve a start in our first game next season.

    • 1957

      I agree but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Diame, Lascelles and Gouffran there too given recent selection policy.

    • Guilttripjunkie

      Agreed, the only positive aspect of the ‘slump’ is that it exposes the myth that we only need one or two new players should the team gain promotion.

    • Jezza

      Yes but will they all still be there by the time we play our first game next season?

  • Guilttripjunkie

    I wonder if Ashley thinks he is getting good value from Rafa for 5m a year salary?

    • Jezza

      I wonder how Rafa feels about taking the job on the promise of funds to build a team only find out he has to sell to buy, make a £30 million transfer profit in the summer window then be denied any funds in January.

      • Wor Lass

        It`s his “get out of jail free” card, Jezza. I`m a big fan of his and we have to remember the good times but we shouldn`t be scrabbling now. Too much tinkering and too much stubborn insistence on sticking with certain players.

        • Jezza

          I’m not defending Rafa, he has got it wrong a number of times this season but he can only work with what he’s got and our squad is nowhere near good enough. If Rafa had been allowed to properly strengthen the team, particularly in January, he probably wouldn’t be persisting in picking certain players who are not performing.

          • steve

            We’re in the Championship, the squad is more than good enough

          • Jezza

            The number of defeats we have suffered at the hands of average Championship clubs would suggest otherwise.

          • steve

            That’s down to the manager.

          • Jezza

            I think it’s down to the owner for not giving the manager funds to strengthen the team.

          • steve

            No other squad in the league has close to the strength and depth we have, Darlow, Elliot, Clark, MBemba, Yedlin, Dummett, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle, Mitrovic are all capable of playing in the Premier League, no one else has more than 2/3 players they could say that about.

          • Jezza

            I disagree. I think only Shelvey, Ritchie and possibly Gayle would do well in the Premiership. Dummett and Mitrovic have looked very much out of their depth in the Championship never mind the Premiership.

  • 1957

    He’s paid to find the answers, but as we stumble along when he finds an answer (Friday) he discards it yesterday.

    • Paul Patterson

      That was my biggest disappointment from yesterday, a great performance is followed up with mass changes.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Ok Rafa, it had f@@k all to do with the 5 changes made including dropping 2 of our best defenders (yes i include Big Vern)
    Shocking display & if fans think the Fat f@@ka will lay out multi millions in the summer, Well think again

    • Mrkgw

      Yes, should have added to my post below, drop Yedlin in favour of bringing back Anita.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        I`m no fan of Big Vern but the lads been steady & should have played as should Mbemba

    • steve

      One good game in 5 from Anita, he was the only change yesterday I didn’t think would be a mistake.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        well he was excellent on good friday & as i`ve said i`m no fan

  • Mrkgw

    Stop this needless squad rotation Rafa and things may improve. Drop Darlow for Elliott. Bring back Clark and Mbemba for Hanley and Lascelles. Drop Diame and things will get better. Best Manager that we have had in years but time to listen to the masses maybe. Just this once!

    • Paul Patterson

      Never going to happen. Too many changes. Diame only works well with Gayle and to be honest if Lascelles sat a couple of games out it would help him and Darlow would be protected better.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    we need Clark & Gayle back next Monday

  • nevfur

    To my mind I agree that the five changes was too much and contributed to the pathetic performance but apart from the fact that the players out there should have been good enough and also take most of the blame we also have to remember that many of the fans slating Rafa also reviewed fridays game slating the defence including Anita, Lashelles and some Mbemba particularly for the late goal. Slating Gouffrans lack of doing anything much, slating Perez for doing nothing and slating Mitro for doing little and again not scoring so they can’t exactly with hindsight now claim that an unchanged 11 should have been played.
    It’s a tough one and confidence is low away in particular at the moment. Fortunately we have two left at home.
    Might be an idea to get fully behind the lads for a massive atmosphere at the remaining games to back them and roar them on to promotion instead of constantly speculating who isn’t good enough for PL and needs getting rid of in the summer. Keep saying it but summer after promotion is the time to discuss who to keep or sell not whilst we are still in the fight to get up.

    • Paul Patterson

      Fair points, but I thought Mitrovic was great against Leeds and led the line really well. To be dropped after a good display is poor.

      • nevfur

        I agree actually, not me picking on the lad I like him just saying many criticised him for not scoring again but now moan when he is dropped. Can’t have it both ways.

  • hetonmag

    I’m going to stick up for Rafa here sort of play devil’s advocate he has to put his trust in his players and they have let him down big style, we the fans don’t see what goes on behind closed doors take Anita he was out on his backside on Friday night and reading some of the post’s after the teams were announced yesterday quite a few were happy with the starting line up.

    • Paul Patterson

      I was more disappointed in the fact that it took until the 82nd minute to bring Mitrovic on and Yedlin stayed on as long as he did when he was walking a red card.

      • hetonmag

        Agreed !!

  • toonatic

    This stumbling over the finish line is the best thing that could happen to us (as long as we crawl over the line)cos this means fat mike will have no choice but to give rafa adequate funds come the summer.If we had strolled to the title his normal penny pinching would defo have occured in the summer and rafa might have walked ,but now even the fat man must realize we need significant funds to push on in the premier league.

    • Taz

      Totally Agree, a said the same to wor kidda last week, but we need a shed load of money as we have some real shockers in our squad.

    • Malcolm Fisher

      Not so sure after some of the dross Raffa signed,not even getting a game or on the bench.

  • Lord

    Despite the changes and the weird substitutions, still think the selected team was good enough to win in a formation everyone is used to. We had Shelvey, Hayden and Ritchie in midfield and Murphy up front has a good scoring ratio. Yedlin in for Anita was a swap we were all waiting for up until the Leeds game. This wasn’t a ‘let’s play Riviere up front on his own against Bournemouth’ nonsense selection.

    Bad day at the office, just like the Fulham game, doesn’t mean we won’t pick up any more points along the way. And Huddersfield are going to run into our old friend Harry in a few weeks, that one’s not looking so easy for them. Along with Wolves (A) and Fulham (H), don’t see them picking up more than 9 points.