Rafa Benitez had a specific game plan for the Fulham match but that went out of the window very early on.

The early exchanges saw a few promising moves by Newcastle but Fulham had already looked in those opening minutes as if they could potentially control the midfield area, certainly in terms of possession.

The United boss looked back on the game and declared that the last think his players could afford was to make mistakes and on 15 minutes they made their first major one.

Letting danger man Tom Cairney have far too much time to line up his shot and hitting a raker into the top corner from 25 yards – hardly a surprise as he’d scored a similarly impressive strike against Leeds in midweek.

That mistake handed all of the initiative to Fulham and they could then sit in possession and control affairs, registering 62% of the ball by the end.

It was a double whammy – because whilst the Cottagers are very comfortable in possession, they are also very quick on the counter-attack, so when Newcastle then took a few risks going forward they were punished a number of times.

The 16 (SIXTEEEN) year old Ryan Sessegnon repeatedly finding space in behind Vurnon Anita and adding another two goals, which cold have been more – especially the penalty which Sessegnon should have been allowed to convert for his hat-trick.

Whether Rafa’s tactics would/could have worked against Fulham is obviously an unknown – but certainly the Newcastle players didn’t look on their game on Saturday – yet another home game where the team didn’t look totally assured or confident.

Rafa Benitez:

“We knew it could be a difficult game and we knew we had to do well at the beginning – not make mistakes.

“But we started making mistakes and we paid for that.

“Fulham are a good team – they passed the ball well and they have pace.

“We were giving the ball away and that was giving them the chance to play in the way that they like to play.

“When you have tried and have made mistakes, you have to analyse why – it isn’t as though the players were not trying in terms of effort.

“Sometimes it is just the wrong decision and that is something we have to improve on.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Fulham 3


Newcastle: Murphy 76

Fulham: Cairney 15, Sessegnon 51, 59

Possession was Fulham  62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were  Fulham 11 Newcastle 11

Shots on target were Fulham 4 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Fulham 7 Newcastle 5

Referee: James Linington

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark (Gamez 64), Dummett, Colback, Ritchie, Shelvey, Atsu, Diame (Murphy 61), Gayle (Gouffran 74)

Unused Subs

Elliot, Hanley, Perez, Mitrovic

Crowd: 51,903

To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the defeat go HERE.

The Fulham boss quizzed on whether Newcastle will still get promotion – Read HERE.

Read what Paul Merson had to say about the game HERE.

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints

  • Peter Robson

    An honest assessment with no excuses and no dodging the real question !!!

    Refreshing after years of lies and excuses !!

    Regardless of the result, it´s still nice to be treated with respect as fans !!

    In Rafa we Trust !!!

    • magpiefifer

      Yes,an honest assessment,but more performances like that and we can wave goodbye to automatic promotion – then it’s the play-off lottery!!!

      • Peter Robson

        I´m not commenting on the performance mate, there are enough on here to analyse that and I feel any contribution I make would be redundant, I was commenting on the fact that Rafa actually treats us fans with respect. Something which has been missing for too long !!!

        • Delashio

          Mate no one likes any positivity on here so you best finish with slagging someone off otherwise you will upset all the morons.

          • Peter Robson

            If a person looks long and hard enough for negativity they´ll find it, fortunately we still have enough positive things staring us in the face !!!

          • Damon Horner

            selective negativity though, not a bad word was said about Shelvey and his no action midfield display against Fulham.
            Got to be aimed at Sels, Dummett, Anita, Lascelles, Gouffran, Diame and Mitrovic.

  • Steve Smith

    We’re missing Hayden. The sooner he’s back the better.

  • Rich Lawson

    ffs,at home with 50,000 in the park we need to attack from start to finish,home and away should be different tactics,the opposition have sussed how we play,change it !

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    According to “The Chronic” this defeat somehow came out of the blue, Really ?
    Lucky against Huddersfield and Brighton where if the former and latter took their chances it could have looked oh so different right about now.

    Fulham are a good side which are better than their league placing suggests and have some really good players on paper.
    I knew before a ball was kicked that this would be a tough game for Newcastle because their previous games were on a knife edge for the most part with defeat just around the corner imo.

    The weeks run up to the Fulham game was typical from Newcastle and “The Chronic” with tales of how Rafa had turned the club around and united the fans Blah,Blah,Blah !
    Throw in lots of over the top optimism, “Geordie-Jingoism”, Premature backslapping and the seeds were sown for the inevitable vintage crash which we have become accustomed to on Tyneside over the years.

    I personally have never bought into this whole “Rafalation” thing and think he has been too negative at times against some of the opposition he has faced this season.
    You also have to look at the calibre of the teams he has lost against because it is hardly the stuff of a promotion tilt in my book.
    With the money that has been spent at this club they should be 10 to 12 points better off than they are but have thrown away too many games.

    Rafa only has a mentality to set up to keep games tight hence the away form and when it comes to home games doesn’t have a clue how to open teams up hence the poor form at St James’ Park.
    It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they threw away any advantage given to them and ended up in the play-offs !

    • Guilttripjunkie

      Geordie Jingoism…nice one..too many of our fans have been in a state of collective delusion since the Spurs game last season. The team isn’t really that good, yet would still be ten points ahead if Rafa had deployed the correct tactics at home. I fear the better teams in this poor division have worked Rafa out. It wouldn’t surprise me if NUFC fail to gain automatic promotion.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        I am always quite happy to add new buzz words and memes to the vernacular.
        There has always been a fair sprinkling of what I call “Geordie-Jingoism” which has pervaded over the years and “The Chronic” have always been one of the main purveyors (Agitators) of this.

        They are the biggest offenders of what has been levelled at Newcastle fans over the years with the deluded tag originating at their office doors.
        They are responsible for the abuse Newcastle fans get from some sections of the media and other fans.

        • Delashio

          No its the small ammount of idiotic fans that bring it on themselves.

      • Delashio

        Like brighton and huddersfield?

    • Jimblag23

      Blackburn and Fulham doing the double over us is a wake up call to anyone getting carried away with us this year.
      To be fair to Rafa, he started with rubbish players and then was restricted to a certain level of player in the summer. The club let him down in January when we were in a stronger bargaining position.
      The true judgement of Rafa comes next year.
      We just need to grind out the rest of the season, I don’t care if it’s pretty. We just need to finish 1st or 2nd.
      Let’s not get overly negative after Saturday, Fulham look like they’ve come a long way in the last 6 months and I think our players were tired and Gayle only firing at 75%.

    • Atilla McNamee

      Just as a matter of interest do you go to the games?

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        Ever get the feeling when you have heard something before ?
        The old ones are still the best when you have a comment that the modern left don’t like, You get this typical type of response to try and shut you down.

        • Atilla McNamee

          Not sure how asking you a question is shutting you down. Surely it’s giving you a chance to clarify the situation so I’ll try again? Do you actually go to matches?

          • Andy Mac

            TBH it doesnt matter if he does or doesnt ? He has an opinion and as a fan he’s entitled to it. I dont go to games but the point made about losing some very winnable games against some very poor teams is one that cannot be argued whether you go or not ?

            I also agree we should have at least another 8/10 points from games which were woeful home defeats. Wolves, Blackburn, Wednesday not forgetting the dropped points against QPR

  • Alan

    Not sure where the writer was sitting on Saturday but from behind the goal in the Leazes end Tom Cairney’s raker into the top corner went straight over Darlow into the middle of the goal.

  • Andy Mac

    Daryl Murphy claimed the players showed Fulham too much respect. Players dont do that collectively ?