After watching his team make it only one point picked up from the last eighteen, Rafa Benitez must have known it wasn’t going to be the most comfortable of press conferences.
In the event, the Newcastle boss only gave it two minutes before wrapping it up and heading out of Stamford Bridge.
When asked whether Newcastle are good enough to stay up, what else can Rafa Benitez say?
Naturally he said yes but with the proviso that his team ‘have to improve’.
When pressed on what would happen in January and whether he will get the help/backing he desperately needs and didn’t get in the summer, the United boss obviously didn’t want to answer, as once again, what is he supposed to say?
Rather than giving empty promises, Rafa simply said he didn’t know, as the same question was put to him in a number of different ways.
As for Saturday’s game, Newcastle were clearly outplayed and outclassed but as the Newcastle manager points out, his players helped hand the three goals to Chelsea: ‘They scored from two crosses and a penalty, so we could have defended much better, but we didn’t do that. We didn’t make it hard enough for Chelsea and that is why we got beat.’
Whilst we all hope for January signings to help come to the rescue, bottom line is that survival this season is largely (wholly?) going to rest on the players already at the club.
Newcastle are away at Stoke on the day the transfer window opens and that is the 22nd game of the season, by the time the window closes there will be only 13 Premier League matches remaining.
“We have to improve, but yes, to stay up I think (we are good enough).
“To stay up, I think so…
“But when people talk about these games, this is the Premier League.
“We know we have to improve a lot of things but still we will be a team in the bottom half of the table.
“We knew from day one that we would be in the bottom half of the league – it is not a surprise to anyone.
“We know a lot about our team but at the same time we know about the other teams (such as Chelsea and Man Utd) and still we can’t stop them.
“They scored from two crosses and a penalty, so we could have defended much better, but we didn’t do that.
“We didn’t make it hard enough for Chelsea and that is why we got beat.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Gayle 12
Chelsea: Hazard 21, 74 Morata 33
Possession was Chelsea 66% Newcastle 34%
Total shots were Chelsea 23 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Chelsea 9 Newcastle 2
Corners were Chelsea 11 Newcastle 4
Referee: Kevin Friend
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Mbemba, Ritchie, Diame (Shelvey 75), Merino (Yedlin 85), Murphy, Perez (Hayden 62), Gayle
Elliot, Joselu, Mitrovic, Aarons
Crowd: 41,538 (Newcastle 3,000)
(Alan Shearer gives honest assessment on Chelsea defeat HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)
(Danny Murphy can’t believe this Newcastle player can’t get in the team – Read HERE)
(Mikel Merino speaks after the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge – Read HERE)
(Garth Crooks insists Rafa can still turn Newcastle into title contenders – Read HERE)
(Read Newcastle fans’ player ratings HERE)