Ah well, it happened, the great Newcastle United run of 2016 ended.
It was bound to happen at some point, and whilst we all wish that we could have went on and created that 10 game record, it wasn’t to be. Winning 10 in a row is a great achievement, and would obviously have been extremely important to the title hopes, but to win that many games in a row is an achievement that not too many teams are capable of in the modern game. Nine in a row must be seen as incredible and I for one am happy that we did it.
Nobody enjoys losing but it is now time to dust ourselves off and prepare for the next week of football, a quarter-final and a tough game against Forest.
Part of the preparations for those games will involve the analysis of Saturday’s game, which, let’s face it, whilst not a disaster, was a bad performance all round. There will no doubt be some finger pointing, a few home truths told, and possibly some interesting one-to-one conversations held in Rafa’s office, and hopefully the outcome will be a renewed sense of purpose, a deeper understanding of individual requirements, and a clear strategy to improve.
Something I noticed over Saturday evening and Sunday, was a remarkable barrage of derogatory comments aimed at individual players, and to my absolute astonishment, the manager.
Tactics wrong, selection wrong, rotation wrong, lack of quality, bad attitude; all examples of what some people have thrown around since the final whistle.
Let’s get something straight right away; ALL TEAMS LOSE.
It is a fact of life. If teams did not lose, then every single sport on the planet would be an absolute bore. Not one of us would spend time following/supporting if we knew that come the final whistle another big W would be written in the history books.
What happened on Saturday is just one of the things that all clubs experience.
Do we have the squad depth/ability to beat teams like Blackburn? Of course we do.
Should the squad that Rafa selected have been capable of beating Blackburn? Of course it should.
The reality is however, too many players were having off days, the intensity was lacking and it was not to be.
Some fans/supporters who have spent the last 9 weeks applauding and celebrating victories are now shedding their happy skins, donning the gloom masks and spouting the too often heard rubbish about how Rafa got it all wrong…how dare we lose to a team like Blackburn; Mitro and Perez are rubbish and should never wear the shirt again.
When losing a football match, I understand that people will have their own opinions of what went wrong and why. What is important though is not to blow the whole situation out of proportion.
We lost, it will be righted at some point. We are still top of the league. We are still in the cup. We are not derailed.
We do not have some sort of inherent right to victory. I want us to win as much as everyone else, but when we don’t, we all have to be a bit realistic as to why and how the loss came about.
Rafa is not a divine entity that is capable of masterminding a 46 game winning season.
He is the best man for the job and has worked small miracles in the short time he has been here. Questioning his abilities and lambasting the man for a single loss is pure madness.
By all means give your opinion; if you think the team selection was wrong then that is your opinion, of which you are entitled to, and I may just agree with you on some of your comments, but for the love of all things Newcastle, stop it there.
Let’s not make it out to be worse than it actually is.