Some very varied comments from Huddersfield fans after Saturday’s match.
A game that saw their highest ever league attendance at the John Smith’s Stadium, third v first, their most anticipated match of the season, a chance for the West Yorkshire side to go only three points behind Brighton and still have a game in hand…
Little wonder that Newcastle United/the referee popping that balloon after only 10 minutes has got so many of them riding their high horses!
As you will see below some Huddersfield fans see it as just a complete professional performance from Rafa Benitez and his players, others as daylight/twilight robbery.
Reality is maybe somewhere in between?
Who knows what would have happened if Newcastle hadn’t got the penalty and/or Murphy had got blown up for a foul on the keeper?
What I do know is that the referee also gave Huddersfield just as soft a penalty and we had one awarded against us in the opening quarter of an hour at Brighton.
Last Tuesday night Rafa’s players emerged from a slow start to eventually take control and have most of the play, shots and corners – yesterday it was defend deep and hold the one/two goal advantage.
Why come out and try to force another goal when the opposition are struggling to break you down and have to rely on free-kicks and long range shooting?
Interesting to look back at their win at St James Park in August – Newcastle had 65% of possession whilst Huddersfield scored two goals from three efforts on target and had one corner. Hmmm.
Looking at the stats, Newcastle are top scorers in the Championship with 69 goals, 24 more than Huddersfield’s 45!
No team in the top nine has scored as few as David Wagner’s team, suggesting that whilst they play some good football, they lack a cutting edge much of the time, pointing to the fact that yesterday’s struggles on the goalscoring front aren’t a new issue.
Some of the noisier ones below, express doubts about the quality of Rafa Benitez’ judgement, especially when it comes to games on the road.
Away from home Newcastle have won more games, picked up more points, scored more goals, conceded fewer – than any other Championship club.
I bet a few other managers wish they were as ‘lucky’ as Rafa!
Comments from Huddersfield fans via their top message board DownAtTheMac:
‘Judging by some of the love-in posts and threads on here this won’t go down particularly well but for me there’s no doubt that the best team won yesterday.
Essentially Newcastle were far better able to defend against us than we were in our ability to break them down.
I would go as far as saying that that was the best (defensive) performance I’ve seen at the John Smith’s, especially under the circumstances of two promotional rivals going head to head.
Don’t get me wrong I was immensely proud of our team last night and in many ways I’d rather play like we did and fail than play like Newcastle did and succeed but let’s not be fooled that the best team lost. That’s a pretty blinkered view.
The stats look favourable for us and we were easy on the eye but from 10 minutes on Newcastle allowed us to have the ball and restrict us to long range efforts. We constantly kept coming up against a brick wall (Shelvy, Colback & Diame) and that’s before we even got a look at breaching their back four, even for our penalty Kachunga was going nowhere. Their game management was superb and we all know that stats and possession don’t necessarily win games.
Mourinho won Premier League titles from a similar defensive base and it looks like Newcastle will win our league. I don’t like it but fair play to them.
Last night Newcastle were superb defensively, allowed us to play in front of them and fully deserved the victory.
So, well done Newcastle. Very well played. Good luck next season in the Prem and I hope we get chance to avenge this defeat then by gunning down Brighton or going up via the Play-Offs. I think we will because we are a very good team despite not being the best one last night.’
‘I think that the difference was they had 3 good chances and scored 3 goals. Appreciate the 3rd was a tad fortunate. We had loads of good chances and scored 1.’
‘I keep hearing that Rafa had perfect tactics etc but if that was the case, wouldn’t he have stuck with them for 90 minutes?
He came here to get men behind the ball but I guarantee you he didn’t expect to be completely dominated and on the back foot all game. He was worried and knew it was only heading one way hence sticking two pacey players up top to try relieve the pressure but they still couldn’t string two passes together.
Nothing fell for us around the box. You can say that is good defending or you can say that it is partly luck.
Plus it’s hard to create too many clear openings when your players are being cynically fouled when breaking through.’
‘Things got a bit more interesting after the ref evened things up by giving us a soft penalty to match theirs but we were limited to a handful of long range efforts.
The stats mean nothing. Newcastle played the hand we dealt them and did it very effectively.
And the endless whining about referees needs to stop.’
‘I’m not sure we did create loads of chances.
Sure, we had a handful of good opportunistic long range shots (Billing, Mooy, VLP & Lowe) and a couple of freekicks but can’t recall a single clear cut chance inside the box. They didn’t give us a sniff.’
‘This ‘allowed us to have the ball’ thing is complete and utter drivel, they adapted their game to defend because they couldn’t get the ball off us.
If we’d have cut out the mistakes we made and been more clinical nobody would have been saying it was a great tactical game by them.
They were battered in everything other than scoreline.’
‘England v Iceland all over again.’
‘We lacked a cutting edge yesterday. This is nothing new hence the reason we have won 20 games but only have a GD of +6.
Worth remembering that the combined fees of Newcastles goal scorers was £25m, we simply do not have those resources.
Remember Newcastle were the shortest odds ever for promotion in August and I bet they would tell you we have given them their 2 toughest games. We need to stop whining and feeling hard done by.
We got some rough decisions yesterday but we have had some luck too recently. Some of the town fans on twitter are embarrassing and come across really tinpot.’
‘They got 2 lucky goals and were organised enough to get behind the ball and keep us out.
Had they not gone 2 goals up, it would have been a better match and more openings for Town.
They probably deserved to shade it 2-1 for their organisation, but they were only able to do this with the lucky 2-0 lead.’
‘Give any team in the top 8 a free 2-0 headstart and you’ll see some ‘perfect tactics’ and organised defence. It’s not hard is it?
It’s even easier when most of your players played t a higher level and when anyone does get through you are allowed to hack them down.’
‘Bit sick and tired of hearing how ‘clever’ these tactics are of being completely dominated, have your keeper make a number of saves and get away with a number of melees in the box and scratch a win by a decision or two going your way???’
‘Scramble near the line, scuffed shot along the floor centrally from Brown, Hefeles header, there must have been 5 occasions in the box where a lucky bounce saved Newcastle and the shot was not got off. All the loose balls went their way.
They were solid but best team? They only had the ball under control in our half about 5 times. 76% possession, treble shots, treble the corners and 3 top class saves says we battered them.’
‘We didn’t have any good chances. We had plenty of cracks from outside the box. We didn’t get in the box enough.’
“Best team” is meaningless when teams are aiming for totally different things: after the 2 goals, Newcastle were just packing the box and keeping us out.
76% possession is because they didn’t want / need the ball, not because we’re super duper. We ARE super duper, but that’s not why we had 76% possession yesterday.’
‘They defended really well after a couple of lucky goals. Never thought I’d see Newcastle putting 11 men behind the ball all game but to be fair, it worked.
If we’d have managed to get an equaliser I can guarantee the Newcastle fans wouldn’t have called it a managerial masterclass, they would have been outraged at the tactics used. Fine margins, luck & our mistakes gave them the win, not great tactics.’
‘Yes they were better defensively than other teams we’ve faced but again when you’re only trying to defend and no intention to even bother with the breakaway then the task is far easier. The ref gave far too much leeway with their fouling too- did not protect out players at all.
We are very lucky to have escaped without (hopefully) any serious injuries.’
‘Talking rubbish. Rotherham came here and gave it a better go than Newcastle and they spent £60m less on players in the Summer.
But for all 3 goals we gifted them, they struggled to string a few passes together let alone create any chances of their own and show they are a good side. They got lucky big time.’
‘The ‘best team’ were denied a level playing field after ten minutes because one of the other team’s players cheated and the referee bought it.
What happens after that is not a true reflection of the strengths and values of the two teams because one was afforded an unfair advantage that then affects the way the two teams manage their game.’
‘Should applaud them. Get two up and see the game out.’
‘They went ahead due to referee error.
they went further ahead due to a keeper error.
They kept 10 men on the pitch due to a referee error.
Scored again through another error as desperation set in.
They did defend very well- but that included riding their luck many times. For me Town were much the better side- dominant throughout- and that is why football is the great game it is- the poorer side can win.’
‘Ifs, buts, couldas, wouldas and shouldas aside for the last 85 minutes of the game it was attack vs defence, and their defence/team was more effective (better) than our attack/team.’
‘What were his perfect tactics exactly?? To rely on bad refereeing decisions going your way and a lousy keeper error??
You were really poor on the day. Got handed a 2 goal cushion and managed to hang onto it by parking the bus.
Its the results that count, but if you think it was some ‘tactical genius’ by benitez, youre kidding yourself.
You are very much getting the rub lately. Look through your last dozen or so league goals and its an array of blunders, ricochets, own goals, flukes .. Maybe you put luck like that down to Benitez and his tactics?’
‘I was shocked at Newcastle’s inability to string two passes together.
A lucky two goal lead, defended very well, but your lack of quality on the ball was alarming. I never thought I’d see a Newcastle team play like Wimbledon, but that’s what I saw last night.’
‘We can debate this all day /night /weeks/ months but Newcastle don’t give a monkeys.
However, why they are so smug at winning nothing since 1969 is the real question.
Massive losers on the grand scale of things they think they belong in, so pipe down Geordies and enjoy your continued failures and your empty cabinets of non glory.’
‘Benitez has had a good career, granted, but I’d take Wagner every time.’
‘If Rafa was lucky enough to have our squad he’d already have won the division. These are the facts.’
‘Over the season Newcastle have been the best team. Their position at the top of the league shows that. And they will probably win the league. Fair enough.
Yesterday though they were defensively sound but terrible going forward. I cannot believe a team worth that amount of money could attack like a lower league team. Every ball was just pumped up the pitch.
I suspect Newcastle won’t have won many neutral fan’s admiration with that sort of football.
Anyway, the game has gone. Newcastle can do what they want. We will continue to play good, exciting football and will hopefully go up alongside the Geordies, whether that be automatically or through the play offs.’
‘It would be difficult for Newcastle to be even 1 place above where the pundits expected!’
‘Playing Devil’s Advocate here, but I get the points the geordies are making.
I agree that Wagner is probably the best manager in the EFL right now – at least barring a spectacular collapse from us or something spectacular happening elsewhere he should be a shoe-in for manager of the season for this division. Rafa Benitez has the burden of expectation to deal with, whereas Wagner does not.
That doesn’t mean Rafa isn’t doing a great job though, and if he hadn’t consistently been a great coach then he wouldn’t have been employed at so many top European clubs. Wagner on the other hand is having a great season, but there are other managers who have had great starts to their careers too.
I fully expect that Wagner will have a great managerial career. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get a succession of top jobs in the EPL, Bundesliga…etc. But I do get the claim that Rafa Benitez is a better manager than Wagner, simply because he’s proven himself over a long period of time.’
‘Newcastle’s defence is solid. Lascelles, Clark and Dummett are excellent. They’re beating most teams on their travels. That provided them with a strong platform.
However, the major difference is the constant threat that they can knock it long and direct at any time. The killer moment of the match, the thing that made the difference on the day, was the brilliant pass from Shelvey for Murphy’s goal. Take that away and it’s a completely different story.’