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.

Rafa Benitez:

“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

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic

Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to today’s game go HERE)

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints

  • toonterrier

    No we don’t expect you to win every game but we do expect you to try and win. Some awful performances this season with too many negative tactics. At the moment our promotion seems to rely on other teams not winning rather than us putting the boot in and going for the three points. Hopefully Brighton will lose and at the moment they are 1-0 down. Roll on the end of the season

    • Scottpaige

      Never gonna be easy doesn’t matter how we get there!. Stop moaning on like everybody else. Would you have took being top at beginning of April??? Yes???. Well give it a rest

      • Simon Cochrane

        Absolutely Scott! Toonterrier our promtion will rely on having more points than the team in third, not on the failures of others. We are top of the league by virtue of amassing more points than any other team.

        We are not top because of the failings of others. In any other season a team on 78 points would have been cruising to the title. It has always been the case that its the team that is most consistent over the season that finishes first.

        Quit the whinging and get behind the lads for the last 8 games!

      • Jezza

        I’d prefer to be top at the end of the season rather than at the beginning of April.

        • Scottpaige

          I’m not denying that. What I’m saying is any fan would have took our position at the beginning of season if come beginning of April we were 7 clear of 3rd.

    • Jimblag23

      Yeah I truly believe Rafa and the players didn’t try today.

    • Geordiegiants

      It just makes me wonder, what do people expect? Rafa has had 1 window, has moved on lots of wasters, and still has a lot of dead wood to move on. On top of that, the fat cancerous owner is playing up. We are top of the league, highest scorers, and are probably going to get promoted. This is not the premier league, the football is different, but affective. We don’t have the players to play Keegan esq football.
      Wake up and smell the coffee son shine.

      • Munich Mag

        Spot on there with your statement, we forget how awry things really could have gone hadn’t Rafa steadied a sinking ship brought on by the imbeciles wrecking our club before his arrival. We only need to look at how Norwich and Villa have sunk to get a real perspective of things. At the same time with success comes expectation. I would prefer the fans following the toon to gtf with this Keegenesque entertainers rubbish and see the real world. I would love us to develop a west brom or stoke mentality, a team filled with powerful and aggresive pros, hard to beat, who grind out wins. We have to reestablish ourselves as a 10 – 15 place premier league team, that alone will cost a massive effort by rafa and his coaching staff, players, and also ashley. I fear Ashley will blow it by not providing the finance, and will ultimately sell up. The investment required just to tread water will scare the pinkle out of Ashley.

        • Mayor Vaughn

          “No we don’t expect you to win every game but we do expect you to try and win. ” FFS! And people wonder why others call our fans impatient, and fickle.
          Just unbelievable, this bloke will be leading the Rafa out brigade next season then, probably already bought the URL.

        • Geordiegiants

          I would love to think so (The cancer selling up). He is going to go eventually, I just hope it isn’t to some Arab crime organisation.

  • Leicester Mag

    Sorry but having watched us labour and fail to beat a bang ordinary Birmingham I’m far from feeling the positives of this. Others will say it’s a point and Huddlesfield lost but I bet hardly a fan has walked away from today’s game feeling anything but empty after this.

    • Mayor Vaughn

      How can you feel empty at the top of the league? come on man! 8 games to go, effectively 8 points better off than 3rd.
      I think things look pretty rosy.

      • Leicester Mag

        Because we are a far better team than we allow ourselves to be that’s why. I get promotion is the be all and end all, that decent football comes second but this division is chock full of ordinary teams like Birmingham and yet we labour with a system that seems based on nicking a result.

  • nufcslf

    Thank you Leeds. It is annoying looking for help from elsewhere when Birmingham were there for the taking with the right starting 11 to go and attack from the off.

    • Mayor Vaughn

      We weren’t too precious about any help from others last season, so any help this season is gratefully recieved. Thanks Leeds and Bristol City, Thanks very much!

  • MadMag83

    People expect us to win every game, not just the away ones. Should have beaten Birmingham easily but the quality wasn’t there and Shelvey not starting was a big miss.

    The important thing is we gained a point even though we weren’t at our best.

  • Jimblag23

    Wasn’t to be, but the way Rafa has turned out club around in 1 year from top to bottom means I’ll forgive him.
    Especially as we’re top with 8 games to go.

    Gracias Rafael, muchas love

    • Jezza

      I fail to see how he has turned the club round. We are in the second division and not running away with it the way we did under Chris Hughton 7 years ago.

      • Mal

        We are not running away with it because of the performance of the teams below us, mainly Huddersfield. The 3rd placed team 7 years ago only accumulated 79 points in total. Huddersfield have 71 points already with 9 games to go. We’re actually only 2 points less than Hughton’s team at the same stage of the season.

  • Geordiegiants

    I wonder if the Brighton fans are as negative as ours.

  • Munich Mag

    Don’t think the fans are negative, just nervous. Too many plastics doing the rounds too obviously who only know the glossy Sky TV world and havent seen us when we were really garbage, playing at a delapidated SJP.

    • Jezza

      Absolutely spot on. I’m sick of these 20 something happy clappers who just don’t understand the pain, misery and instinctive pessimism that comes from decades of supporting this football club.

      • Munich Mag

        too busy taking selfies and recording youtube vlogs to sing. Can’t even sing Newcastle properly… embarrasing

  • Grahame Johnson

    On a game by game basis we can moan away, looking at the bigger picture and all results in the championship over the last ten games it is a barking mad league, Forrest beating Brighton, Fulham beating us, Bristol beating Huddersfield just to name a few,Fulham are a prime example of a team able to play the top of the league off the park away from home then 1 point off to winnable games. A madder then normal championship season were 2 points out of 3 games may be worth more then we think. Villa,Norwich, Derby (2) and many more have changed managers Rafa and our squad are coping one way or another. I will shout my self hoarse at the games I go to and let the madness in and around us work its own way out