Rafa Benitez “We have one more point than before and Huddersfield lost.”
Rafa Benitez was happy that Newcastle controlled the match at St.Andrew’s and felt they deserved more than a point.
The United boss pointed to two factors that stopped his team getting the win.
Rafa made Tomasz Kuszczak man of the match after he made three or four very good saves to keep the scores level.
Plus, he felt hard done by when Matt Ritchie looked wrongly denied a goal for offside in the first half.
The team selection raised a few eyebrows with both Gayle and Shelvey dropped to the bench.
However, Rafa Benitez confirmed that this morning the midfielder had a high fever and so they didn’t feel they could start Jonjo Shelvey, as might not have been able to ‘manage the intensity’ of the game in his weakened state.
“We have seen the replay and I was a little bit surprised (when Matt Ritchie goal ruled out for offside).
“It was a game we needed to control and create some chances, then you could see the (Birmingham) keeper was man of the match.
“But you never know if it is a point that will be enough.
“Still you can improve things but it was a case of controlling things and then creating chances – but the keeper was making the difference.
“Still not happy with a couple of counter-attacks.
“The doctor said this morning that he (Jonjo Shelvey) had a high fever and so we had to decide to leave him on the bench. Then in final minutes we tried to change things a little bit, as we didn’t know if he could manage the intensity of the game (if playing from the start).
“I still thought we could win the game but important we least controlled it.
“We have the experience and every game is important.
“There are eight games left and we have one more point than before and Huddersfield lost.
“People are expecting we can win every away game…I think we deserved to win but couldn’t win this one.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0
Possession was Birmingham 35% Newcastle 65%
Total shots were Birmingham 9 Newcastle 17
Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 3
Corners were Birmingham 3 Newcastle 5
Referee: Simon Hooper
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)
Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic
Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to today’s game go HERE)
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