Rafa Benitez looked back over the 90 minutes at Turf Moor and believes it was an opportunity lost.

The United boss believing his side could have won the game but it relied on Burnley making a mistake.

The home side didn’t drop any clangers but Rafa Benitez believes his own side made the crucial error.

The Newcastle manager says he doesn’t like to name names when it comes to the blame but declares it was obvious where the defeat came from.

Seconds after Hendrick scored the winner, Rafa dragged Ayoze Perez off the pitch, weak play having seen the man Tenerife criminally caught in possession so close to Newcastle’s box, and second later the game was effectively over.

Rafa Benitez talks of having ‘control’ in the match and you kind of know what he means because he mentions it so often, it wasn’t that Newcastle were dominating the game but rather keeping it tight and competing, until that crucial Perez mistake.

The manager talks of nine goal attempts from Newcastle in the second half but in reality I can’t really remember their keeper having a difficult save to make until the final seconds, Isaac Hayden’s effort turned away by Pope in the Burnley goal.

No doubt most Newcastle fans would have liked to see Dwight Gayle introduced earlier and disappointed to see him only get seven minutes, as Hayden and Murphy were brought on first despite Newcastle then chasing the game.

However, by now we know Rafa rarely makes substitutions that most supporters would make, sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.

Last night though, maybe it was a simple reminder of the lack of quality Newcastle United have in those forward areas, unless Dwight Gayle gets fully fit and translates his Championship form to the top tier.

Rafa Benitez:

“It was an even game, in that we could have won it or lost it. perhaps it was always going to come down to one mistake and that is exactly what happened.

“They were pushing and had some chances – but not enough, these kind of games, when you have control then you have to be sure you don’t give the ball away the way we did.

“I don’t like to name anyone but it was obvious we didn’t do what we had to do.

“On the ball we had to be a bit better and more precise and we still had chances and some attempts.

“In these kind of games you have to be sure to be strong enough in defence and you have to be better in attack.

“You can win games like this but they have to make a mistake, they didn’t and then took advantage of it.

“It was a game we were controlling and we knew that scoring one goal would win it – we made a mistake and we paid for it.

“It was two teams who know what to do, little details could make the difference.

“We had nine attempts in the second half and we thought we could win the game. 

“We were not precise on the ball and so we have to improve, we know our strengths and our weaknesses and we have to improve on everything – but I’m happy with our work rate.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Burnley 1 Newcastle 0

Goals:

Burnley: Hendrick 74

Possession was Burnley 47% Newcastle 53%

Total shots were  Burnley 12 Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Burnley 5 Newcastle 5

Corners were  Burnley 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Mike Dean

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie (Murphy 79), Shelvey, Diame (Gayle 83), Atsu, Perez (Hayden 76), Joselu

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Saivet

Crowd: 21,031 (Newcastle 2,500)

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE)

(To read the match ratings from Monday’s defeat go HERE)

(Mikel Merino set to see a specialist – Read HERE)



  • Peaky Magpie

    The blame lies with Lardy who failed to back Rafa in the summer as promised.

  • TheNutJob

    Rafa has limited options but to ignore Clarky or Chancel at left back then not even having Mitro on the bench & replacing Hayden with Slomo is crazy.
    3 pts were there for the taking last night but the side Rafa picked was never going to get them

  • TwinFire

    Monday night away loss. so what.

  • Tino o

    We were very unlikely to win with the team picked or the subs. What does Joselu have to do to be dropped and I can’t see the thought process in ever playing diame

    • 1957

      Both SloMo and Hoss are Benitez buys so obviously he sees something in them…what I don’t know though

      • Tino o

        Hopefully soon he realises they are costing us 3points were there for the taking last night

  • Oldgeordie

    I don’t usually find much fault with Rafa but I believe last night’s defeat was down to him. Still playing Perez, what a waste of space he is. Why not play a bit more like the last 10 minutes when we overran Burnley. The game was there for the taking with a little more attacking play and better service from the wings.

  • Leazes Ender

    We didn’t have nine attempts in the second half….

    ….. Really you can’t count things which vaguely head towards the goal as attempts…. we had two…. Perez curled shot requiring some effort from the opposition keeper and Shelvey’s blast not requiring much but being in the right place.

    You can’t disguise the fact that we don’t have Premier league strikers or any strength in depth in this squad. a withdrawn deep set midfield might help out a defence in reducing the number of opposition chances but does that mean ‘we controlled the game’?

    Not pretty to watch.

    • Rich Lawson

      No proven goal scorer in the team,Gayle’s head has gone and he will be sold to a championship team asap,playing Mitro’ from the start in the next game can’t be worse than this.

    • Andy Mac

      No it wasnt it was ugly

  • Mike

    joselu is dross……why no subs earlier in the game it was crying out for a change of direction. dreadful

  • 5floorshigh

    its a mazing how some ppl see the game so differently…..9 2nd half chances ?……a game we were controlling ?……also not naming names as to who was to blame, well let me name them for you………Rafa !……..same goes for the last few games, bad team selections and too negative. The defence and shape as a first priority is spot on and works well but there needs to be a plan B……like scoring goals might help !