Rafa Benitez was putting a brave face on it after Watford took all three points on Saturday afternoon.

The defeat was bad enough but the manner of it will surely be a bigger worry for the United boss.

It was pretty even in the opening stages and indeed Joselu totally missed the ball when well placed inside the box….only for Watford to then go up the other end a few minutes later and score from a very similar position.

That was on 19 minutes and from that point Newcastle were well beaten.

Rafa Benitez though insisted ‘We made a couple of mistakes and we paid for that’.

The Newcastle manager adding ‘The reaction of the team was good (after conceding). We were pushing, we were pressing…’.

However, Newcastle huffed and puffed but never looked like scoring, whilst Watford looked menacing every time they came forward, attacking with pace and purpose.

As for bouncing back after four defeats in a row, Rafa is once again consistent in his message – ‘we have to work harder and better – that is it’.

Rafa Benitez:

“We made a couple of mistakes and we paid for that.

“They had a couple of runs down their left which were difficult to control.

“We were pushing in the first half, we were on top for a while, but then didn’t score.

“We have to realise where we are, what we have, where we want to be.

“I have said before, it is going to be a tough season and we have to keep working as hard as possible.

“Everybody knew they (Watford)  were doing well and that we needed to be strong, to be solid…we made a mistake.

“We started well but we made a mistake, we conceded the first goal, then you have to go forward.

“The reaction of the team was good. We were pushing, we were pressing…on top of them, but the second goal changed everything.

“In the second half you do have to take more risks and we conceded another goal.

“Then it was more difficult for us to react and to do the right things because when you are under pressure, the anxiety means you make more mistakes.

“It’s something that we have to realise could happen, you could lose games, because we are in the Premier League and it’s another level.

“Everybody needs to know that if we want to improve, we have to work harder and better – that is it.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle United 0 Watford 3


Watford: Hughes 19, Yedlin (OG) 45+1, Gray 62

Possession was Watford 48% Newcastle 52%

Total shots were  Watford 12 Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Watford 4 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Watford 3 Newcastle 6

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame (Merino 69), Murphy (Perez 77), Joselu (Mitrovic 69), Gayle

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Gamez, Perez, Mbemba

Crowd: 52,188 (Watford 2,200)

(Alan Shearer reacts to the Watford defeat HERE)

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

(Marco Silva thought Newcastle were lucky to only get beat 3-0 – read what he said HERE)

  • BillytheFish

    Rafa, as always is right…The players didn’t do a lot wrong, they were simply beaten by a better team with better players…

    • Marveauxless

      Except that the back two were left constantly exposed by the full-backs and holding midfielders whilst Joselu and Gayle had 3 clear cut opportunities between them and failed to even take a shot. Shelvey’s passing was woeful We were horrendous and we were lucky not to lose by 6 (Gray should have had a hattrick).
      Had we shown that performance under McClaren would you have said that? If Pardew had said we were unlucky after being slaughtered would you still have the same view?

  • GToon

    Forget all the Ashley issues but to have lost to Burnley Brighton Bournemouth Huddersfield and then hammered by Watford without even scoring a goal is totally unacceptable. If pardew or carver or maclaren were in charge we’d be calling for their head. So that’s four in a row with Chelsea to come. Not good enough. ☹️

    • Damon Horner

      you think Rafa should get sacked?

      • GToon

        No. I think he should play Merino instead of that clown Diame. Merino was fit and on the bench so he should have started. Joselu needs to be dropped like Perez has been. Mitrovic needs to be given a chance. To not have scored a goal or even looked like scoring against those five teams is not acceptable. I don’t think Rafa should get the chop but he needs to wise up, change his team around and try plan B.

        • Geordiegiants

          Honestly people like you make me want to scream. Rafa works with them daynin day out, do you not think he doesn’t know Merino is better than Mohamed? Give your head a shake man.

        • Damon Horner

          Merino may not have been fit, this is one where you just trust the judgment there.

          I worry there’s no answer in the squad for the striking. Maybe Rafa should give Mitro a run but if it fails we really are in trouble and I don’t see him scoring regular either.

          The team needs an uplift in Jan I we’re to survive. We only get results when we strangle the life out of games.

        • Geordiegiants

          Listen man, he makes mistakes, he is human, but he gets more right than wrong, his recorded proves it. It’s easy for people to sit and say I would play Mitro instead of Joselu, EASY, but the thing is he is a world famous SUCCESFUL manager. That’s why he is in control and the fans aren’t. Why doesn’t Jabba just give control over to fan opinion like ebsfleet used to. Not one single person sees or hears how these lot go on daily, Rafa does. He trains to a formation/method differently each week. Plan B?????? We don’t have a plan B, we don’t even have a plan A, with these players. Think about the last few years and the money Jabba wasted on shyte then look at what Rafa has got to work with. His judgement is Mitro is shyte, does any single fan really really think he would make all of the difference anyway. It’s got to a point where it embarrassing to be a Newcastle fan with some of the people on here’s comments.

          • Mike Adam

            It is not embarrasing to be a fan and have an opinion different from the manager!!! What are you talking about??? Fans just have opinions as to who they think might improve the team, there is nothing wrong with that!

      • Geordiegiants

        I despair with these lot, honestly, no wonder the football world think we are backward.

        • Damon Horner

          We probably are the only fanbase that would run a CL winning manager out of town for not playing Mitrovic…

          He makes mistakes and his opinions differ, same with all managers, Guardiola persisted with Bravo last year quite a bit etc. Sack him and where do we go? Pulis? Swapping Mitro for Joselu will remain debate but sacking the manager probably wouldn’t be a good move at this stage.

          • Marveauxless

            Except literally nobody is saying that Rafa should be sacked, only that his reputation does not absolve him of any responsibility and he should shoulder his share of the criticism.

          • Damon Horner

            Come on…. If I said “Shelvey would be dropped with any other manager in charge.” then im suggesting he should be dropped or should he feel lucky?

            He does shoulder his share of the responsibility and he does get things wrong but hinting at a sacking is over reaction.

          • Marveauxless

            That isn’t saying he should be sacked, it’s saying Pardew and McClaren received a far greater backlash for similar actions (In fact, GToon explicitly states below that he does not think he should be sacked). The fact is that the majority of fans overlook the mistakes he makes based purely on his reputation.

            There must have been over 200 comments on this site since kick-off this afternoon; find me one that calls for Benitez to be sacked.

  • Paul Patterson

    Utter tosh. To say we made a mistake and then we had to go forward is insulting. We should be going forward anyway at home.

  • Rob

    Shambolic today. Yes the players aren’t good enough but then the mistakes made wouldn’t be expected by a pub side.

    Shelvey was very luck to stay on pitch and again showed why he’ll never play for England.

  • anyobrien

    Oh dear rafa

  • Peter Stabler

    One of those games where the missing players grow in stature – we missed our Captain today. The miss by Joselu would have been excusable if they were playing on the Town Moor but the pitch is like a carpet.

    • Big Al 1967

      Which miss are you talking about…. the air shot which hit his standing foot in the third minute or the back pass trundler to Gomes in the second half

  • Damon Horner

    bottom line is the squad’s not good enough. Even some of the players highly regarded by the fans.

    • Geordiegiants

      The highly regarded ones are only that because our standards and expectations are so low now.

    • Jezza

      At the very most we’ve got one player who is Premiership standard.

      • Geordiegiants

        We have a couple on their day in my opinion, but they certainly aren’t top prem players. Merino and Shelvey, then Ritchie, Lascelles and Clark are very industrious squad players, but after that no one really.

  • 1957

    Absolute twaddle. He needs to look at himself and under performing players, mostly his signings, and stop giving them all a place in the team no matter how poor they are. It seems from quotes I’ve seen his rationale is as long as they train well they deserve another chance.

    I’m not a huge Mitrovic fan but he is a better option than Hoss for me, and how Mbemba can’t get a game, he was probably our best player last time we were relegated, is astounding.

    Benitez is working under similar restrictions to Pardew, Geordie John and SMc, ( except he claims to pick his own new players) but we are supposed to sympathise with Benitez while the others are objects of derision.

    IRWT…not me especially after today.

    • Mike Adam

      Absolutely agree!!! Any of three previous managers would have been run out of Newcastle or lynched by now, no question!

  • TheFatController

    Mike Ashley options currently :-

    1. Sack Rafa, get a Pulis, give him £20m in Jan, demand £350m from PCP
    2. keep Rafa, give him £20m in Jan, demand £350m from PCP
    3. Either of the above but reject PCP’s £250m and watch them walk away…
    4. Sell for £250-£300m to PCP

    Other options may be available, please list by reply …

    • HTL

      5. Do nothing but the bare minimum till someone makes an offer that is to good to turn down. (same as the last 10 years)

      • TheFatController

        Agreed. Anyone would think he over values the club in the hope he comes out with a profit, though sadly for him the world’s investors can see that it’s over-valued..

        What would make PCP move from the reported £250m offer to the reported £350m? We all know to start low, but investors don’t waste their time making stupidly low bids, so even as an opening gambit, PCP don’t see £250m as stupidly low. But Mike does. Funny that…

        • HTL

          Not only will there be an income from the club, but the free advertising will make the club more valuable to him than others?

          • TheFatController

            Agreed. Whilst in the PL. now make that argument whilst in the championship, with Pulis in charge …

          • HTL

            agreed, thats why he was prepared to spend in the championship to get back to the worldwide tv coverage?

          • TheFatController

            Pulis may not be hughton and a Rafa.

            In fact, call me presumptuous, but no ‘may not be’ about it, i’d put all my savings and mortgage on third time unlucky no matter who he got in.

            Unless he got Carver, of course. Straight up by March, 120 points.

          • Jezza

            True. If or rather when we go down a third time under Fatso there is no way we will come back up. We are more likely to go down to the third division.

          • TheFatController

            I agree, which means, given we’ve never been third tier, what Ashley does with PCP now is the most pivotal moment for the club, dwarfing David Kelly’s Portsmouth goal…

          • Jezza

            He never spent in the Championship, he made £40 million profit on transfers.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Rafa out hopeless three nil down and still no subs only brought them on
      when the game was over a disgrace hope he goes soon.

    • Jezza

      “keep Rafa, give him £20m in Jan, demand £350m from PCP”

      At this rate it needs to be the other way round with those figures.

  • Leazes Ender

    Please don’t go down that Pardew Road where his insists black is white….. we know what we saw!

    • HTL

      Please don’t use the P word, he may come back !!

  • Big Al 1967

    ‘They had a couple of runs down their left which were difficult to control’..Really…… Can’t say I noticed!!! I thought it was ALL GAME
    I felt sorry for Yeldlin as he was horrifically exposed by Ritchie’s inability/refusal/unwillingness to track back throughout the game. He constantly had 2 running at him and didn’t know which way to turn. And yet nothing was done by both the players or the management to change this

    • Mrkgw

      Ritchie has been found out in recent weeks and needs to up his game. He is capable – but morale seems low. Clearly, we dont know what goes on behind the scenes but something seems to be up.

  • joe mac

    graft beats talent…..when talent dose not try…..when talent trys…talent wins…..its catching us up now!!

  • Mrkgw

    Shambolic. ASHLEY OUT!

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Rafa out three players on the bench should have started but wait four this one nil down no change, two nil down no change, three nil down no change,
      when there was no chance of winning bring on subs a disgrace

      • Rob

        Robson would have made a triple sub special at two down!

        • 1957

          Yeah Bobby would have tried to change the game with substitutions much earlier. When things go wrong I’m not sure if Benitez doesn’t know what to do or is just so stubborn he can’t accept his selections / tactics are going wrong.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Honest I love Rafa but even at three nil down still waited to bring the subs on and when he did put Mitro on brings a winger off. If Mitro plays he needs service.

          • Mike Adam

            Most managers would have, cannot figure Rafa out when it comes to substitutions.

  • All of you Perez haters, where are you? Two games he didn’t start and we concede so easy and pose almost no threat. Yedlin and Manquillo are just not good enough defending. We need Dummett, Perez, Merino, Gayle, Atsu, Lascelles and Murphy starting every game, or we have no chance of even a point. We will panick buy come January. Fullbacks, Wingers and a Striker are the bare minimum!

  • Tino o

    Sounds like mclaren bullish!t

  • 1706 Scotty

    What complete and utter bollocks.

    We were second best from start to finish, all over the pitch.

    Too many players simply not applying themselves.

    Shelvey getting deeper and deeper all game and 45 yards passes from start to finish. How long will it have take before they realise IT DOESN’T WORK IN THE PREMIR LEAGUE!!!!

    I don’t sign up to this blind worship of Shelvey or Mitrovic. Neither of them should be anywhere a good premier league team!!!! Unfortunately we are not one!!!!

  • Tino o

    I would have liked him to hold his hands up and said my team selection and tactics were wrong instead of spouting this [email protected]!

  • Peaky Magpie

    Jenas on MOTD….Goodnight,already had enough for one day !

  • TheFatController

    Shall we sum up 10 years, using the medium of the manager, given Rafa is the current incumbent of the poisoned chalice ?

    Allardyce- after 8 months we were all over the place on and off the field

    Keegan – after 8 months we were all over the place off the field, not like my first time as manager therefore

    JFK – we were all over the place in every aspect

    Hughton – I got us promoted and then to 11th in PL. presumably because we weren’t all over the place on the field, but were off the field, I was sacked

    Pardew – despite finishing 5th, we went on to be all over the place on and off the field til we broke all records

    Carver – all over the place doesn’t even get close

    MacLaren – I don’t sign players I just coach them. And soon they’re all over the place

    Rafa – nearly kept us up, got us back up. Started off we were only all over the place off the field (paging Tammy Abraham) then, after 14 points from 9 games, it’s 14 points from13…

    Here’s to 10 more years of Mike .

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    having watched the game yesterday i went to a family function last night & talking to my cousin who`s a season ticket holder he said, that more than a few supporters are starting to question Rafa,
    but he went on to say, look at the players we have, no matter what 11 he started we would have lost, they were so much better

    • Leazes Ender

      There was nowt on the bench to worry anyone.

      • Geordiegiants

        There is nowt in our full squad to worry anyone.

    • Geordiegiants

      I despair, who are we going to get anywhere near as good as Rafa? Never mind better. Jabba has scored all over employing him, all the heat is off him and on Rafa, it beggars belief.

  • HenrySlade

    I think Rafa’s flogging a dead horse with Joselu; some signings work, some don’t and I think we can all see that this one is a disaster. I know that yesterday’s defeat wasn’t all down to one player, but having such an incompetent centre-forward must effect the team’s collective confidence.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he was never going to work, one look at his playing CV & it screams rubbish

  • East Durham Mag

    When virtually nowt was spent and Fatty saying he was broke and that was that, the momentum of the promotion was still there. A lot of pundits predicted we would struggle with a ” championship squad” and they have been proven right. Now we are losing to teams who had an owner who would strengthen, even the teams who came up with us. I don’t blame Rafa, its Fattys fault for failing miserably to back his manager and leaving him to scrabble round basement bargains. The sooner he goes the better.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    If we lose again on Tuesday i think the takeover will be dead in the water,
    the Fat Lad needs to accept the bid on the table or end up once again in the championship.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Disagree. It will happen faster. Ashley cant put more money in which is whats urgently needed in January more and more. It devalues his club and means hes more at risk and has to put hand in his pocket. It is too big an ongoing concern. He cant afford a relegation. He’ll be shot. It part makes me think conspiracy theories for forcing his hand. Im happy as long as he is gone this club has no future with him involved.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Let’s put things in perspective here this is more or less the same team that lost twice last year to Fulham,twice to Sheff Wed & worse still twice to Blackburn.Merino aside the replacements have been no better than we already had.The Fatso has so much to answer for,yes some of Rafa’s decisions are bizarre but he can only work with what he’s been given and frankly that’s not a lot.At this moment we probably need 24 points for survival and I really can’t see where the next one is coming from if I’m been honest.I also really don’t think we’ll get anything at WBA.Someone on here yesterday said “Free Falling “ by Tom Petty,more like “Down,Down,Deeper & Down” by Status Quo.

  • fistsofsteel2

    Is Rafa just too pig headed to admit that Joselu is utterly useless?

  • Toonrobbybobson

    Hes got to protect his players. We did look better though when Merino and Mitrovic came on.