After consecutive defeats to Spurs and Huddersfield in the Premier League, Rafa Benitez made 10 changes for the cup game on Wednesday night.
Only Chancel Mbemba survived from Sunday’s starting eleven and even he changed position, moving from left-back into his usual centre of defence role.
Reflecting on Forest’s 3-2 win in extra time, Rafa Benitez said: ‘Because you play two days ago and you have to play two days after, at this stage of the season, the players have to be ready for playing in the cup against a Championship team, if you can’t it means something is wrong’.
Mark Warburton claimed that Forest should have been at least 4-1 up at half-time but the United boss has a different take on it, saying: ‘I don’t remember too many saves from Darlow and I remember a lot of chances that we didn’t take’.
In Newcastle’s position (especially Rafa’s with Ashley) it is hard to know what to make of this latest cup exit.
The players that ended up on the pitch should still have had more than enough to beat a Forest team that also made changes but they didn’t.
Momentum counts for a lot, especially when you don’t have it…
Winning games leads to much more chance of victory in the next one. Rafa Benitez believes though that nothing has changed for him, stating ‘I have said that this team will improve and I am convinced that we will do it’.
“Everybody was expecting that we have to beat Nottingham Forest, but at the same time they’re doing well in the league and they have confidence – the game though was more or less as we were expecting.
“They could pass the ball, they could move the ball, but we had the chances.
“I don’t remember too many saves from Darlow and I remember a lot of chances that we didn’t take.
“Because you play two days ago and you have to play two days after, at this stage of the season, the players have to be ready for playing in the cup against a Championship team.
“If you can’t, then it means that something is wrong.
“I thought we could do it and watching the team, watching the number of chances that we had, I think we deserved to go through.
“We knew that going into the Premier League, a new division, a new competition, another level, you can win games or you can lose games.
“In this case, we lost this one. It was a game that we were expecting to win – we didn’t do it and we have to be ready for the next one.
“I have said that this team will improve and I am convinced that we will do it.
“it proved that we have to improve in some areas.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 (AET)
Newcastle: Mitrovic 3, Aarons 45+1
Forest: Cummings 29, 31 Walker 97
Possession was Forest 51% Newcastle 49%
Total shots were Forest 16 Newcastle 29
Shots on target were Forest 7 Newcastle 7
Corners were Forest 9 Newcastle 11
Darlow, Sterry (Lazaar 58), Mbemba, Hanley, Gamez, Aarons (Ritchie 77), Saivet, Barlaser (Hayden 70), Murphy, Diame, Mitrovic (Joselu 105)
Woodman, Lascelles, Manquillo
Crowd: 27,709 (approx 1,000 Forest)
Referee: Darren England
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go here)
(Read what Mark Warburton had to say about the game here)
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])