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