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Six times in seven games gives Rafa Benitez a mountain to climb

6 years ago

Saturday at Anfield was the sixth game out of seven under Rafa Benitez where Newcastle had conceded the first goal in the opening half and given themselves a mountain to climb.

Under Steve McClaren and Pardew & Carver before him, that would have been the signal for fans, that they might as well head home or to the pub, as recovery was very very rare.

Only the Swansea match has seen Newcastle strike first and then go on to win comfortably (eventually!) with the opposition having to chase the game.

To an extent, I still don’t know how Newcastle managed the draw om Saturday, as Liverpool looked to have the game well and truly won at half-time, with Newcastle not having had a kick.

To be honest the second half didn’t really see Newcastle that much better in terms of possession but the difference was that they committed men forward when counter-attacking, then reaped the benefits and the luck – up to a point.

None of this would have happened without Rafa Benitez.

Despite the defence looking a bit better in the Swansea and Man City matches, Newcastle have still conceded more goals than everybody but Aston Villa, which tells you everything.

Rafa has helped inspire comebacks against both Man City and Liverpool in the past week but it is a recipe for disaster to keep conceding first.

Maybe the point is that Rafa Benitez can only do so much in terms of organisation and motivation, the actual ability, or lack of it, can’t be changed.

Having said that, there really is no excuse for the ease with which both Shane Long and Daniel Sturridge scored such easy goal in the opening couple of minutes, from the scorers’ point of view of course they were great goals. However, Sturridge was ‘marked’ by two players and Long walked right through the middle of the midfield and defence.

Rafa Benitez:

“The first half was a little bit concerning about the mistakes we are making but the reaction is the main positive thing we can take from this game.

“I know we have to improve on the ball but if we have the same spirit we can keep the momentum going.

“Yes (it does feel like a win) because nobody is expecting to concede a goal in the first two minutes…

“After conceding the second goal, the problem we had was very difficult – we then had to chase things.

“We talked about having nothing to lose at half-time and I think the reaction of the players was fine.

“I am really pleased because we have got the point.”


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