Jamaal Lascelles is desperate for the next match to come around.
Following a clean sheet and win against Manchester United, the Newcastle Captain would have preferred to keep that momentum flowing into another match ‘because the confidence is flying’.
No doubt Rafa Benitez will instead have looked at it as the perfect opportunity for a long preparation time for Bournemouth, as well as allowing key players to shake off knocks and for Islam Slimani to be made ready for his debut.
Rafa has never been shy of making big/brave decisions and that Manchester United match was no different.
His team had been struggling to score goals rather than keep them out, leaving aside the Man City away match NUFC had conceded only four goals in their last six Premier League matches ahead of facing Jose Mourinho’s men.
Whilst Florian Lejeune had to come in due to Ciaran Clark having a knock on the knee, to put Martin Dubravka in goal after only 11 days in the country was a decision that could have massively backfired on him and made him an easy target for the media.
However, Rafa doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, fans or media, and does what he thinks is right.
Jamaal Lascelles points to reasons why the United boss would have had confidence, saying ‘Normally, new players can be a little bit shy, or they don’t come out of their shell, but in training he (Dubravka) has come in, wants to play and has been bossing people about.’
A clean sheet and man of the match award summed his debut up.
The Lascelles stats really can’t be repeated enough times.
In 18 of his 21 PL starts this season, Newcastle have conceded more than one goal on only three occasions, whilst they have leaked a total of 19 goals in those 21 Lascelles starts.
Only six clubs (who are all in the top seven) have conceded less than Newcastle, which is pretty unbelievable when you consider NUFC had 17 scored against them in the six matches the Newcastle Captain didn’t start.
Newcastle have proved that with Rafa’s organisation & discipline and Jamaal Lascelles out on the pitch leading on those instructions, we have a very good solid base to the team, even when making two defensive changes as was the case against Man Utd.
Creativity and scoring goals has been a different story and that was where money really had to be spent last summer, or failing that January. A quality striker and number 10…and who knows how much further up the table Newcastle could have been.
Restricted to only loans in January, Kenedy has added some much needed oomph in terms of running with the ball and now if Slimani can knock the chances into the net, we may well have a viable plan at both ends of the pitch now.
“Florian Lejeune is a good defender, he offers a lot and he is good on the ball, defensively he was excellent (against Man Utd).
“I think me and him played well together, everyone was at it against them.
“It is important that we keep it there, we’ve set our standard and we need to maintain it.
“The new keeper (Martin Dubravka) was brilliant, made some great saves.
“Normally, new players can be a little bit shy, or they don’t come out of their shell, but in training he’s come in, wants to play and has been bossing people about.
“That’s really good, because he is the voice at the back, and it’s important that he speaks to his defenders.
“Fair play to him – he made great saves and kept us a clean sheet.
“We didn’t really need a rest but it won’t do us any harm – to be honest though, I would have liked to have another game around the corner because the confidence is flying.
“Most people would never have thought we would beat Man United, but we beat them, we are on 28 points now and we’re in a better position.
“The next two games are massive for us against Bournemouth and Liverpool and we need to be getting a lot of points from those games.”