Rafa Benitez was once again faced with an impossible task.
Badly let down in the last two transfer windows yet Mike Ashley declared back in September that he was sure Newcastle would be safe by January and could have a real go at the FA Cup.
Embarrassingly, he then said he would give the squad £20m if they won the FA Cup, this was after he refused to properly back Rafa in the transfer market.
You couldn’t make it up.
We got to December and Rafa said he needed all signings made by 15 January or at very latest 20 January.
Net result was not a single signing by the 20 January.
Now it is 28 January and still not a single player bought, only a short-term loan for 21 year old Kenedy.
Ashley’s people briefing the media that a £20m striker was going to be signed, then bidding £12m for Nicolai Jorgensen, and now the message is that Ashley/Newcastle ‘won’t be held to ransom’ by Feyenoord who are insisting on their £20m valuation.
Rafa was happy up to a point with his team in the first half against Chelsea today but once it got to 2-0 then his tactics on limited resources, especially with Burnley on Wednesday in mind, the situation was hopeless.
Interviewed afterwards, Rafa Benitez referred to the problems he faces at the club and said ‘The Newcastle fans are very clever, they know what is going on.’
Rafa is keeping it professional but you do worry if nothing happens transfer-wise by Wednesday night, just what the Newcastle boss will do.
He says he wants to stick it out because he loves the City and fans but everybody has their breaking point.
“The Newcastle fans are very clever, they know what is going on.
“What we have to do is be sure that I don’t let them down.
“I want to keep going because I am a professional and I want to do well, I’m happy with the City and the fans.
“I can see the potential of the club.
“In the first half we did very well.
“We had chances, we were on top of them, we were in control.
“In the second half they were much better because they were 2-0 up and we were more open.
“We tried to put them under pressure but there was a difference of quality in some situations.
“The first half showed we wanted to stay in the competition.
“We did well in the first-half, had chances, put them under pressure.
“We made a mistake in the counter-attack for the first goal and after the second goal we were unlucky.
“There is a big difference to play Chelsea at their home and be 2-0 down.
“I am pleased with the team in the first-half and disappointed we lost the game, now we concentrate on the league.
(Asked about any January signings) “I hope we can (still) do something.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0
Chelsea: Batshuayi 31,44 Alonso 72
Possession was Chelsea 61% Newcastle 39%
Total shots were Chelsea 18 Newcastle 9
Shots on target were Chelsea 8 Newcastle 6
Corners were Chelsea 5 Newcastle 4
Referee: Kevin Friend
Darlow, Manquillo (Murphy 77), Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Haidara, Saivet, Hayden (Atsu 83), Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle (Joselu 64)
Woodman, Diame, Dummett, Yedlin
(To read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE)
(To view the fan Newcastle player ratings and to add your own go HERE)