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Rafa Benitez “A game we were controlling…we had 9 attempts in second half”

4 years ago

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


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)


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