Alan Shearer sets Rafa Benitez targets for survival
Not sure whether Alan Shearer has had that coffee and a chat with Rafa Benitez yet – but the Newcastle legend has broken down what Rafa needs his players to achieve in these final five matches.
The weekend’s results have now given Newcastle what appeared pre-Saturday, a very unlikely chance of survival.
Alan Shearer says Newcastle fans were secretly cheering on Sunderland’s goals against Norwich, though maybe a better way of putting it would be that United supporters were cheering every goal the Canaries conceded.
Whatever the case, Newcastle have gone from potentially being nine points and a significant goal difference behind safety, to instead three points and a single goal worse off compared to Norwich, with Sunderland two points ahead but a significantly better GD.
The bottom line is that if Newcastle beat Manchester City by two goals tonight, they climb out of the relegation zone.
Analysing the final five matches, Alan Shearer believes that the last three games are ‘winnable’ and that on top of that, Newcastle have to find a win against Manchester City or Liverpool in these next five days.
Beating Liverpool at Anfield and winning a Premier League game anywhere against Manchester City, are two of the least likely events of any season, or at least have been up until now. Needs must.
Talking to other Newcastle fans, I think fair to say that before Saturday, the realistic hope/expectation was that United could/need to beat Swansea, Palace and Villa, then anything from Man City, Liverpool and Spurs will be a bonus and probably at least a point or two from that trio is a minimum necessity.
Seeing Tottenham take apart Stoke 4-0 last night was a sobering sight, if they need anything on the last day…
Whatever has gone before, Tottenham are now 17 points ahead of Liverpool and 13 in advance of Man City, they are clearly currently by far the best of the three.
Whilst City are obviously trying to make sure of Champions League qualification through their league position, Pellegrini will undoubtedly be throwing everything at Real Madrid in only seven days time. He is leaving this summer regardless and surely WINNING the Champions League is the only thing on his mind, not qualifying for it…
Liverpool are nowhere in the league and have a Europa League semi final away at Villarreal only five days after our match, Klopp making 10 changes at the weekend against Bournemouth told us everything we need to know about their priorities. Especially when a Champions League spot goes to the winners of the competition.
Seeing the Spurs game as ‘winnable’ will only be viable if they have nothing to play for, with the odds against that at the minute.
However, Alan Shearer is on the right track with this week’s matches, winning against Manchester City and/or Liverpool is surely the mentality we need this week, these games are Newcastle’s only focus whereas whatever Pellegrini and Klopp might say in public, they are already making tehir preparations for the bigger fish they hope to fry.
Alan Shearer writing for Coral:
‘I don’t think many would admit it but there were probably some Newcastle fans who were cheering on Sunderland at the weekend against Norwich. A Sunderland win was the best result for Newcastle.
They duly obliged and I thought it was a brilliant result for them when you consider Newcastle had been there recently where they conceded three goals and were well-beaten.
Sunderland’s win in the lunch-time kick-off on Saturday then put the pressure back on Newcastle at home to Swansea. Although the scoreline might have flattered them at 3-0, it doesn’t matter because it is all about getting the win and they got that. What Newcastle have done is given themselves a glimmer of hope.
Newcastle’s next two games are Manchester City at home and Liverpool away. They are two daunting games and they need to get one win from those and look to the last three games which are winnable!
The alarming thing for Norwich will be the fact they have been beaten so convincingly at home by a team that were below them in the table. That won’t do their confidence any good. As a Newcastle fan, I’m worried about Sunderland now and what they can do. Defoe could make all the difference in this relegation scrap and he continues to score for them.
He’s always scored goals wherever he has been and he is even doing it now in a struggling side. Norwich and Newcastle have really struggled for a goalscorer this season. Let’s face it, there are not many around. Sunderland have one and they are making the most of it.
Rafa had to do something with his side against Swansea after the shambolic performance a week earlier against Southampton. He left a couple of players out to freshen things up a bit. He gave Sissoko the armband, which was a surprise given his form away from home but he reacted in the right way as he put in a very good performance’
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]