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Was being too kamikaze really Newcastle’s biggest problem on Monday night?

4 years ago

Rafa Benitez’ main message after Monday night’s defeat was to say that his team needed to understand that accepting a goalless draw was OK when things weren’t going their way.

The Newcastle Manager indicating that he though he team had been too eager to get forward against Sheffield Wednesday and then left gaps that the visitors exploited.

Isaac Hayden came out after the match and repeated Rafa’s message, now we have Karl Darlow also repeating the accepting a goalless draw point of view.

Newcastle’s man of the match says that ‘It’s a mentality that we need to learn and need to learn it quickly’.

The United Captain saying that a number of Newcastle’ six defeats could have been draws if they’d had a different/correct approach.

I can’t say that I agree with this one and certainly all of the fans around me on Monday night didn’t appear to believe that being too kamikaze was in any way Newcastle’s problem, in fact quite the opposite.

Whilst obviously supportive of what Rafa Benitez is trying to do overall, there is a feeling that in many matches – especially at St James Park – the tactics are too negative.

The constant passing around the back four without getting anywhere, with the two central midfielders dropping level with the centre-backs to get five yard passes, is maybe more of a problem.

The defeats at home haven’t been end to end basketball type games with goals flying in at both ends and Newcastle being simply outscored, rather they have been games like Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn, Wolves and Huddersfield, where United only scored one goal in a combined six+ hours of football over the four matches – and that being a fortunate penalty by Gayle against Huddersfield.

Throughout the first half on Monday, Newcastle struggled to create chances whilst Wednesday created chances even when the Magpies had numbers back. Plus the winning goal came with still 43 minutes to go (incl injury time) so it was hardly a case of being hit by a sucker punch when charging forward in the closing minutes.

Rafa Benitez’ biggest challenge is to work out how he can create more chances, especially in the absence of Jonjo Shelvey, whether it is a change of formation/tactics and/or changes in team selection.

Karl Darlow:

“We have only drawn one game all season so as the manager says, if you can get through a game when you’re not creating chance after chance and get a nil/nil and a point, it’s only going to help us.

“Rather than losing games, it is a bit more about being more sturdy in defence and locking down those nil/nils, getting points where we haven’t been and we have been losing games.

“It’s a mentality that we need to learn and need to learn it quickly.

“We didn’t play particularly well and I don’t think we moved the ball quickly enough – Wednesday frustrated us at home as a lot of teams have been doing.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the quality to unlock them and score the goals like we usually, do so it was a frustrating game.

“They stuck to their game plan which was obviously to upset us and stop us playing the free flowing football.

“Credit to them really for doing a good job on us and stopping us getting going, there wasn’t really much freedom about our play –  we need to pick ourselves up and go again against Forest.”


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