Despite the disappointment of the past week, the vast majority of Newcastle United fans have complete faith in Rafa Benitez to get things back on track and achieve promotion.
It’s been a miserable week for everyone involved with The Toon. The journey home was probably a lot worse for the team than those of us lucky enough to get tickets for the match. This coming on the back of a Blackburn defeat where the number of changes, combined with the occasion, seemed to weigh heavily on the team.
We are so lucky to have someone of Rafa’s ability and the contrast with his three predecessors is stark in so many respects. I am confident he will get us back to scoring and winning ways but like many fans I feel that there seem to be a few underlying issues that need to be addressed.
Most of us would prefer a little more stability whilst recognising that the number of games in rapid succession will mean that some changes are necessary.
Also, those of us going to matches probably feel that the press and pundits have got a little carried away with us as champions in waiting. We have a great management team and a strong squad but my own confidence in our success will be boosted by our manager addressing a few key issues which I am sure he has in hand.
For a team that was feared by others, we seem to lack resilience, fight and determination in the face of setbacks. They need to get to grips with this if they want to benefit from the support of the best fans in the country and the effect we can have on the opposition. It is usually our own team silencing the crowd when the tide is against them. Remember the charged atmosphere when we fought back against Arsenal and Norwich.
The team is too dependant on Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle and we would be in serious trouble if we lost those two for a prolonged period. A creative midfielder and a striker must be signed in the forthcoming window. I have to say I have been mega impressed with Jack “bad boy” Grealish of Aston Villa who, on the ball, seems to have all the time in the world. Unlikely we would go for him but he would be a hit here.
Rafa has shown he is an objective and usually dispassionate decision maker. The effect of this needs to be felt by some squad members including Perez and Mitrovic; their recent performances have been patchy; Perez went missing too often against Blackburn; it was like having Wijnaldum back and Mitro was poor all round.
It is true that Sels’ poor attempted save should not have cost us the game against Hull after all our earlier chances; however, it is clear that he doesn’t have the courage or confidence of Darlow and this seems to affect the team and spreads to the stands. Elliot needs to be back on the bench soon.
Finally, I believe that there is one trick that the master is missing along with many top level managers. With so many of our defenders good in the air, why don’t we have a long throw specialist in our team. It would boost the number of dangerous set-pieces,likely goals and excitement.
Let’s get back to winning ways against Forest.