Rafa Benitez surveyed the wreckage of Saturday afternoon’s late surrender at Bournemouth and claimed that it wasn’t the choice of substitutions that caused the dramatic collapse.

Two Dwight Gayle goals in the first half had put Newcastle well in control, with then a succession of chances missed by the likes of Perez and Shelvey to take the game even further beyond Bournemouth’s reach.

Rafa Benitez made some puzzling substitutions, which isn’t unusual…with his main striker (Dwight Gayle) and two wingers (Kenedy and Ritchie), replaced by a defensive midfielder (Hayden), a full-back (Manquillo) and a winger).

However, Rafa Benitez says that ‘Sometimes, you have to give credit to the other team’.

The Newcastle boss adding that it wasn’t so much the substitutions that turned the game, more the fact that Newcastle started to give ‘the ball away’, plus Bournemouth finishing the game well.

Rafa Benitez also revealed he had to take Dwight Gayle off because of tight hamstrings.

However, it is blatantly clear that, rightly or wrongly, Rafa went more defensive in trying to see the game out and that plan blew up in his face,

Rafa Benitez:

“Dwight was complaining about a little bit of tightness in his hamstrings, so we needed to make a substitution.

“The problem is that they were pushing and coming from the wide areas and making crosses.

“Ayoze Perez was the striker, and we were trying to make sure that we had more control, but we were giving the ball away and they were pushing. Sometimes, you have to give credit to the other team.

“I don’t think that we switched off, it was just a lack of concentration in a couple of situations where we could have done better.

“It is not easy to defend when they are attacking and attacking though, and it is hard to do everything perfect.

“We did that for 70 minutes, but with both goals, it was much too easy for them to score.

“They were able to pass for the first goal, and for the second one they were free in the box, so it is something we have to manage much better.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 2

Goals: 

Newcastle: Gayle 17 and 45+1

Bournemouth: Smith 80 Gosling 89

Possession was Bournemouth 64% Newcastle 36%

Total shots were Bournemouth 18 Newcastle 15

Shots on target were Bournemouth 5 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Bournemouth 8 Newcastle 1

Referee: Roger East

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Manquillo 84) , Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 64), Gayle (Hayden 78), Perez

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Merino, Joselu

Crowd: 10,808 (Approx Newcastle 1,400)

(Alan Shearer reacts to Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 2 – Read HERE)

(Instinct reaction from NUFC fans/writers to the match HERE)

(Eddie Howe reaction to the game HERE)



  • TheFatController

    Rafa needs to pull some magic out of a hat in some of the big games coming up.

    The Slimani injury seems to be costing us, we need someone up front who can ease the pressure, do the CF job in all its aspects.

    There’ll never be another Shearer, but he’d have wasted 5 minutes holding off 2 defenders by their corner flag in his day.
    That’s game management skills.

    • Jezza

      It’s not Slimani’s injury that is costing us it is Fatso’s refusal to dip into the profits to bring in a decent uninjured striker.

      • ghostrider

        Nope. It’s Rafa’s fault for not playing to the strengths of the players. he has/had at his disposal.

        • stevetoontoon

          Cant blame rafa for poor finishing should have been 4-0 up!!!

          • ghostrider

            All teams have poor finishing, so that’s no real excuse for drawing a game where we were in control and 2-0 up, only to defend as if we were holding on to a 0-0 draw at home to Barcelona to stop them getting a precious away goal.
            Yes it is Rafa’s fault that we did not win that game. It’s 100% Rafa’s fault.

          • stevetoontoon

            Right…thats it get rid of rafa….Who do you want as new manager?

          • Cockneytrev

            He’s just a troll mate,, best to ignore him,,,

          • stevetoontoon

            Aye thought so mate he seems to love fatman as well!!! Me first reply to you got blocked called him a nasty name haha!!!

          • ghostrider

            It’s not about getting rid at this point. It’s a simple case of Rafa doing the right thing. You know, the right thing that any of us can see clearly should be done.
            Guess what it is?
            I’ll tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t going all pathetically defensive at 2-0 up by taking your striker off and deciding to hand the impetus to a team that had clearly lost its way up until that point.

          • stevetoontoon

            NOPE!!!! YES!!! I must apologise your always right…. i vote ghostrider next toon boss

          • ghostrider

            No need to vote for me. My blind granny can blatantly see what was needed to see the game out.

          • Blackburn1066

            I f we had put our chances away the game would have been put to bed by half time.

          • stevetoontoon

            Been our problem all season m8….. gotta blame the fatman not rafa thats what im saying!!!

          • Jezza

            If Fatso had allowed Rafa to sign a half decent uninjured striker in January we would have put away our chances and won the game.

        • Ram Kishore

          Come on ghost.. player’s mistakes cost us..Rafa can’t get into their ears all the time

          • Jezza

            Just ignore the troll. Don’t give him the satisfaction.

          • ghostrider

            The blatant truth is there for all to see, if they want to see it.
            Rafa messed up again.
            If it was the odd time I’d let him off but he just won’t learn for some reason.
            As much as you might not want Mitro mentioned…if we had him on that bench we would definitely have not thrown those points away if he’d have been brought on for Gayle.
            Take away your forward line and forward thinking and you have just handed the opposition free rein to attack you at will because they have nothing to worry about at their end.

      • Mitros gotta start

        No its rafas for his shocking treatment of the best finisher at the club who is currently banging them in for fulham.

        • Geordiegiants

          Ha ha ha ha banging them in 😂🤣😂😭

          • Mitros gotta start

            A goal a game isnt a bad record is it?
            I only wish we had a player at the club that had a scoring record that was a fifth as good as his

          • Geordiegiants

            Gayle scores 2 in the prem and Mitro 1 in the fizzy pop league??????

          • Mitros gotta start

            Keep up son….you are in danger of dropping a B0LL0CK if you arent careful

          • Geordiegiants

            No I’m not, how many will Mitro score from now until the end of the season in the CHAMPIONSHIP? The same Championship that made Ciaran Clark look like a top top quality centre half. The same CHAMPIONSHIP that made numerous others look like excellent players, until we came up here.

          • Mike Adam

            Gayle had two balls bounce to his feet, even you could have put them in.

          • stevetoontoon

            Shearer would’nt have knocked them chances back….

          • stevetoontoon

            Played 4 scored 2

          • Mitros gotta start

            Started how many and scored 2?

          • stevetoontoon

            Played in 4 scored 2!!! Championship mind

          • Mitros gotta start

            Maybe you didnt understand the question….i will repeat it for you….STARTED how many and scored 2?

          • stevetoontoon

            A goal a game you said never mentioned the word started hoow!!!

          • Geordiegiants

            I’m comparing this weekend, one game each, 2 premier goals v 1 championship goal. Mitro also played the full game.

          • TheFatController

            Gayle 2 goals in one half today. In the PL. beat that !

          • Mitros gotta start

            One off his 4RSE and one off his knee……fair play though he needed that

      • TheFatController

        Well, yes agreed, my point about Slimani was that he’s the only PL quality striker we’ve had in the last 3 seasons, having landed one at last it’s going to cost that he never plays.

        But who that PL striker is is irrelevant. We need one. Gayle is never fully confident in his fitness or enough quality anyway, Perez is not a PL striker in any stat you care to judge them by, and Joselu is a good 3rd choice PL back up striker.

      • Blackburn1066

        Spot on Jezza

    • ghostrider

      We had someone who could have done exactly that, at least but he’s scoring goals for Fulham right now.

      • TheFatController

        I refer you to my comment, ‘there’ll never be another shearer’ – and mitro will never get close to being another Shearer …

    • GToon

      That’s exactly what I thought. I remember one game back in the 90s at home v Ipswich. We were winning 2-1in the 88th minute and Shearer got the ball near the corner. Game over!

  • Geordiegiants

    He knows he blew it today, he just needs to keep moral up.

  • Mitros gotta start

    Benitez to blame for this today……sick of bossing games only to totally change tactics and lose the points we had in the bank…..tactical genius my 4RSE

    • Geordiegiants

      He should of kept Mitro as he would of been banging them in, and we wouldn’t of needed to defend.

      • Geordiegiants

        Anyone up voting, that was a pish take to the above.

    • anyobrien

      Lmfao

  • Charlie Dickens

    Again this group of players showed that they’re capable of winning games when playing with a positive mindset. In game management was shocking today. What does Rafa say at half time to make us so submissive? Must be opposite to Istanbul. Don’t think Ritchie ball-watching and losing his man for first Bournemouth goal warranted subbing him. Aside from injury, never a good reason to bring Manquillo on. Two big points dropped against a home side still on their winter break in Portugal. Beyond frustrating. You fat Spanish waiter… stop being a chump.

    • anyobrien

      Your well named Charlie.. Ffs #raf out eh

    • TheFatController

      You’ve lost that magic way with words you had in the 19th century Mr Dickens.

      You now right like a Mr Absolutecrapfockwit…

    • Ram Kishore

      Fat Spanish waiter?
      You a Mackem or those other fans whole hated him from his Liverpool days.
      Troll

  • Mirandinha9

    Again the fickle nature of Toon fans comes to the fore. After the Man Utd game, Rafa, was classified with the deserving title of being a master tactician, though, now he’s labelled as inept. Goodness, He’s the only decent thing about this once proud club. Some are even asking for his exit. In the words of the song, we ‘won’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone’, if that happens. My fear is that Cashley will long outlive him.

    • stevetoontoon

      Hear hear mate!!! Spot on

    • anyobrien

      100% mate its shocking

    • TheFatController

      Yes. And amazingly despite his incompetence we’re still a form team in the league. But some would sack him, it’s only 6 CL quality teams at the top of the table after all….we should be strolling it.

    • Paul Busby

      Inept? No, but made mistakes and it cost us this time round.
      He’s still one of the best in the business, but we dont have lot of room for mistakes right now.

      • Jezza

        You mean mistakes like not dipping into the profits in the January window to strengthen a team battling relegation. That wasn’t Rafa’s mistake was it.

        • Paul Busby

          No of course not. At the same time that isn’t an excuse for all other mistakes that are made.

          Negative substitutions cost us 2 points yesterday.

          • Cockneytrev

            I agree with you, he has made mistakes and will do anything in the future, but I think the players let us down yesterday, shelvey switched off in the last 20 minutes, after being our best player in the first half, Atsu needs to release the ball quicker,, but over all I still think for 60/ 70 minutes we were the better team.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Wow, some positivity. I agree with you.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Who would we have got Jezza? Slimani would not have come permanently, neither would Kennedy. So go on, who?

          You make the most stupid points, we played very well yesterday yet you moan and groan in an attempt to follow a moronic MAOC agenda.

    • Jezza

      The Rafa out brigade are a bleeding embarrassment. You’ve got to question if they are really Newcastle fans or just trolls.

      • Cockneytrev

        Rafa does make mistakes,, all managers do, but he is in the top 3 managers we have had since I started watching us in the 60s,, I’ve yet to hear who they (Anti Rafa) would replace him with? Any manager worth his salt wouldn’t touch us with a barge pole, all we could attract are the usual suspects,,, Warnock, Pardew, Hughes, mcclaren, pew list,, etc,,,,
        As for the trolls,, it’s getting ridiculous on this site now,, there are so many obvious ones, but also more subtle ones,,,

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Just block Jezza and his many alias’, Jezza probably lives with his brother in a tent in Russia as an ex-KGB agent and is the same person as you.

  • anyobrien

    I see we have the anti rafa mob oot in force tonight …… All quiet after man u.
    One loss in 8 but what the hell eh.
    Why would he want stay with fans us beats me.. .. .. .embarrassed

    • Tino o

      Exactly had a week off when we beat Man U maybe we should sack Rafa, pardew will be looking for a job soon. Give your heads a shake!

      • anyobrien

        Well said

      • Mike

        Rafa wherever he has been has WON things. When was the last manager we had at the Toon who was a winner? SBR and they sacked him FFS all the rest were losers. be grateful for who we have otherwise it will be Cashley bootlickers.

  • 5floorshigh

    Rafa the Mule ?

  • Mrkgw

    How about not having sold Mitrovic Rafa? That way you might have had more offensive options. Same old excuses time and time again. Rafa is no better than his predessesors.

    • Gareth Marshall

      Christ on a bike mate! Rafa may have made a mistake but come on, that comment is utterly laughable!

    • robbersdog

      Wrong on both counts: Mitrovic hasn’t been sold and Rafa isn’t just the best manager we’ve had under Ashley, he’s one of the best managers we’ve had in the last 50 years.

      • Jezza

        Spot on.

    • Jezza

      Don’t worry one of Rafa predecessors will be back to replace him in the summer.

  • Loyal fan

    Rafa is a God but lets be very very honest his substitutions cost us today.

    • Jezza

      Ashley’s refusal to dip into the profits to strengthen the team cost us today.

      • Phil

        Shelvey played some decent passes. He also missed a sitter and failed to track back for the equaliser. He is never going to be the complete midfielder some claim he is.
        Perez ….. My 6 year old daughter is stronger than him! She probably would of scored the chance he squandered as well.
        Like the look of the new keeper again

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        You really are an idiot. So, who should not be on the pitch today? Gayle, who scored two? Diame, who was brilliant?

        Conversely, Ashley’s ability to get Kennedy in and a very good keeper was fantastic, don’t you think?

  • Ram Kishore

    We fail to manage the second half.. Rafa has warned our team of losing the game in the second half of many previous games.
    it has got something to do with our team’s mentality and concentration yesterday and individual mistakes.
    Yes I was annoyed at the team and the manager.
    Team as a whole made the mistake..that’s it.

    Now Anti Rafa blokes will come out of their crawling places. Please go back to your hideouts

    • thewildchimp

      I don’t blame him for this particular result, but I overall think he asks the squad to do what they can’t, that is: to kill off the games. One or two of them will mess up and we’ll lose 2-3 points we could have gained. It’s not his fault that he doesn’t have that squad, but it doesn’t change the fact that they can’t do it.

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    He’s exactly like Allerdyce..every defeat is down to player mistakes.. every win is because of tactics … he’s egotistical, negative and petulant… his decisions just don’t stand up to any fair criticism.. it’s a shame journalists won’t hold him to account.

  • SGNCUnited

    When has Rafa ever taken responsibility for poor results? It’s always the players, refs, lack of funds, etc. His ego battle with Cashley is why we are where we are right now. He would rather give Cashley the shaft and field strange player combinations, when any other team would have given Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic a good run of games for the pair to work out a system. But no, Rafa would burn games and points repeatedly fielding Horselu as a middle finger to Cashley. Rafa’s the man. Rafa’s untouchable.

    • Jezza

      We are on a four game unbeaten run. The only team to beat us in our last ten matches were the runaway league leaders. In our last game we beat Manchester. Yesterday we got a result that I’m sure most of us would have taken before the match. Are those really the circumstances under which the manager should be sacked?

      • SGNCUnited

        “Four game unbeaten run” has a nice ring to it, if not for us being 2 points above the relegation drop zone. 7 wins in 28 games? That’s a passing grade? But Rafa is GOD, so he is untouchable. aAnd by the way, nowhere in my post above did I mention he should get the sack. But he is driven by pure ego. Please tell me when was the last time he took responsibility for inept displays? And his BS angle on Aleksandar Mitrovic being injured and all? Guess there are two sides to every story. Anyways, let’s hope Gayle’s injury isn’t serious.

        • Andy Mac

          It was noticeable that Eddie Jones put his hands up for the defeat to Scotland yesterday. “You have got to be good enough to handle it and we weren’t today. I apologise for our performance. I take full responsibility for that”.

          • SGNCUnited

            Exactly Andy. That is what it means to own up on mistakes and take collective responsibility, instead of moaning and groaning all the time. It’s easier to be a runaway success with a multimillion dollar team, but requires something else to inspire a “young” and “inexperienced” bunch (the excuse used by Rafa to label his squad). Cashley is a curse and should sell-up and get lost. Rafa needs to change his attitude, drop his ego and own up to his mistakes.

        • Jezza

          Don’t worry, we’ll have Pardew back next season and he’s never a man to make excuses or pass the buck.

    • Joselu hasn’t played recently and we still waste too many chances. Rafa was absolutely 100% right to shut the game with 2-0 up in the last 15 minutes away from home. 99% of all managers would have done that, I don’t see any problems there, but the players who came on didn’t put the effort in as well as Shelvey and Atsu.
      Rafa has nothing to do with why we lost, our players on the pitch got complacent at the end and allowed Bournemouth to go back.
      Atsu could have won us 3-4 minutes easy on a few occasions at the end and should have passed to Shelvey much earlier.
      I think this game will come to bite us in the end, as those two points could well be the line between Prem and Relegation.

  • John

    I’m glad people are starting to see Benitez for who he really is. Manipulative, egotistic, never to blame.

    • Geordiegiants

      I’m so happy too, we are now going to have negativity coming from every where, the owner the manger and the fans. I’m ecstatic what a winning formula.

    • Phil

      Hahahaha. Did Rafa miss from 5 yards out at 0-2?
      Did Rafa miss a sitter from yards out at 0-2?
      Did Rafa fail track his man which led to the equaliser?
      Players play the game. The players have to take the blame. Rafa pointing out mistakes does not make him egotistical. It makes him honest

    • stevetoontoon

      Is that john from pounderland?

  • It is clear that our second team players are not capable and not giving enough. Hayden came for a second game and really didn’t do anything, Atsu looks like a shadow of his former self and Manquillo, well he at least tries.
    Bottom line is we need Slimani fit and playing and Jonjo needs a break.
    We should have won this game by 3-4 goals at least, but we were again wasteful in front of goal. With or without Joselu we badly lack depth and Bournemouth conceded 2 very sloppy goals, we didn’t score 2 goals really.
    Shelvey and Diame need to play, but I think we should have let Merino take over from Shelvey instead of putting Hayden on to keep the ball more.