Joey Barton has been revisiting what he said about Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez a month ago.
After losing to both Spurs and Huddersfield, Barton said (see below) that Newcastle urgently needed a number of quality signings to safely avoid relegation.
The former Newcastle midfielder saying that especially in attacking/creative positions extra quality was required, as ‘you can’t draw everyone to death’.
At the time (21 August 2017), the thing that got the headlines was that despite Joey Barton himself saying Newcastle desperately needed to sign more/better players, he declared ‘Rafa Benitez needs to get on with it…he’s getting paid an awful lot of money, so coach what you’ve got in front of you.It doesn’t help when the manager is out there moaning, saying he’s not happy with the situation. That definitely festers out on the pitch.’
As we all know, not a single player was signed in the remaining 10 days of the transfer window, despite Rafa Benitez clearing a handful of players out late on.
After only £11.5m net investment in his squad and obviously his pleas behind the scenes falling on deaf ears, what other course was open to Benitez than to make it clear to fans he had been let down by Mike Ashley?
For the supporters, Rafa never stopped getting on with it but it was a difficult start to the season against Spurs, then that Huddersfield match was always going to be tricky (their first home game in Premier League) and it could have gone either way.
In the aftermath of three wins in a row, Joey Barton has now declared ‘Credit to Rafa and the Newcastle players though, great results’.
Barton says that these are the important games, against clubs that are going to be outside the top half dozen places.
With Brighton away, then Liverpool home and Southampton away, the former Newcastle player sees ‘a couple of winnable games there’, which is a significant change of direction from ‘you can’t draw everyone to death’.
Even though Newcastle have won these three games, the next trio of matches are tough, and four points would be a brilliant return in my opinion…
Joey Barton speaking on Talksport – 18 September 2017:
“I feared for Newcastle after the Huddersfield game.
“There were issues going on around Benitez, the transfer saga…no-transfer saga – I just feared after they got beat then and the way they performed, that it was going to be a very difficult season for them.
“Credit to Rafa and the Newcastle players though, great results.
“West Ham at home and at the weekend against Stoke (and at Swansea), they’re games that I think Newcastle’s seasons will be judged off.
“It won’t be judged off the likes of games against (Man) City and (Man) United, it will be against those teams around them.
“There are three big games coming up, playing against Brighton then Liverpool at home and Southampton away, so a couple of winnable games there.”
Joey Barton – 21 August 2017:
“It doesn’t help when the manager is out there moaning, saying he’s not happy with the situation. That definitely festers out on the pitch.
“If you’re a player and you hear the manager moaning about investment it doesn’t inspire confidence because he’s saying they’re not good enough.
“Yes they do need investment and I don’t think Gayle is a confident enough striker at this level. He’s not a striker who will get you goals consistently at this level.
“Without Shelvey in the side, and I know it was a stupid sending off last week, they lack that creative spark.
“To keep them up, if they get someone in alongside Shelvey to look after him and give him a bit of licence to create…
“Is Mitrovic the answer? I don’t think so.
They are also crying out for a goalkeeper. You’d like to see the spine strengthened.
“They definitely need a striker, who’s going to get you 15 or 20 goals. Charlie Austin, maybe? They’ve been linked with him before. If you go onto the pitch and you think to yourself, ‘he’s in the team, he’s going to get us a goal’ .
“Benitez has historically set up his teams to be defensively very structured, he doesn’t play the most attacking brand of football.
“Matt Ritchie will create stuff because he’s a competent performer, but they need a bit more quality in those positions because you’re going to have to score goals to stay in this league, you can’t draw everyone to death.”