Rafa Benitez reveals where it went wrong against Fulham for Newcastle
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.
“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
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark (Gamez 64), Dummett, Colback, Ritchie, Shelvey, Atsu, Diame (Murphy 61), Gayle (Gouffran 74)
Elliot, Hanley, Perez, Mitrovic
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.
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