Rafa Benitez “That is why so many people love football”
Rafa Benitez saw his players throw away the chance to go four points clear of Brighton on Tuesday night.
With almost twice as much possession and more than twice as many shots (20 v 8), it was a couple of mistakes that undid Newcastle, as well as missed chances at the other end with Mitrovic the main culprit.
However, Rafa Benitez was philosophical after watching an eventful match, saying that the unpredictable nature of the sport is ‘why so many people love football’.
The United boss saying that sometimes you can win a game with just one chance – maybe Rafa having Saturday at Wolves still fresh in his mind, whereas sometimes you can have the 20 chances but make mistakes and lose.
Certainly with 10 minutes to go and Newcastle 2-1 down, we would all have taken a point, so it has to be a point gained rather than two lost.
However, Newcastle did play far far better than against Wolves and undoubtedly deserved to beat Norwich.
The bottom line is that surely most of us would have thought four points from these two away matches would be a decent return and on the two performances overall, it would be hard to say more than four points was deserved.
It could have been two wins but in other circumstances could easily have been two defeats, the most important thing is that the four points keep Newcastle a point clear of Brighton and five above third placed Huddersfield.
With two very winnable home games against Villa and Bristol City up next, it is down to the players to make those matches count.
Two wins would put Newcastle on 72 points with 13 matches to go, surely a dream position for any club at that stage of the season.
“We deserved to win – maybe they will think the opposite but we have had so many chances, hitting the post twice and so many other chances.
“The way we were playing at the start…it is just a shame that we made the mistakes to let the other team score. We created chances and did well.
“The reaction and the character of the players was the most positive thing to come out of the game.
“Football is a sport where anything can happen and that is why so many people love football.
“You can win a game 1-0 with one chance but you can have 20 chances, make a couple of mistakes and lose.
“In this case, the players didn’t want to lose and their reaction was excellent – the way that they responded to going behind was really positive, to show this character is important.
“We were away, playing against a good team, but we reacted well and I’m sure the fans were enjoying the character, passion and commitment of these players.
“The way the players responded in the second half was brilliant.
“I didn’t have to lift them, I just told them to forget about the mistakes and to concentrate on the next 45 minutes because we were doing well and could win the game.
“I told them that the past had gone and they just had to concentrate on what was still to come.
“It’s always important for the team to recover but when a player (such as Jamaal Lascelles) knows he has been involved in a mistake, it is even more important for him that he can score.
“He equalised and the goal came at an important time – we were on top of them and we scored, then had a couple of chances to win.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Norwich 2 Newcastle 2
Newcastle: Perez 1, Lascelles 81
Norwich: Murphy 12, Jerome 17
Possession was Norwich 37% Newcastle 63%
Total shots were Norwich 8 Newcastle 20
Shots on target were Norwich 3 Newcastle 8
Corners were Norwich 2 Newcastle 6
Referee: Andy Madley
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 70), Colback (Diame 54), Shelvey, Gouffran, Perez, Mitrovic (Gayle 76)
Elliot, Hanley, Gamez, Hayden
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Norwich match go HERE)
(To view the interactive Newcastle v Norwich player ratings and to add your own go HERE)
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