Fair to say that Martin Dubravka made an impression on Sunday.

The keeper says Rafa Benitez only told him two hours before kick-off that he was playing.

A very good piece of man-management by the United boss to ensure the loan signing didn’t have too much time to think about it.

Fans had wondered why Rafa was relentlessly pursuing a new number one goalkeeper when the massive priority appeared to be goals and creativity, against Manchester United we found out why.

Martin Dubravka not only made a series of excellent saves, he also came for crosses and had excellent judgement when it came to coming off his line and closing down threats.

Darlow and Elliot have had their moments but fair to say they have clear weaknesses as well. If the Slovakian keeper can retain this kind of form, he could prove a steal.

Most people will know that Dubravka’s only league experience has been in the weak low profile Slovakian, Danish and Czech Republic domestic competitions.

However, the media had countered that by talking about how he was the Slovakian number one at international level. Well that is only true up to a point…it is only very recently that he has got that position and at 29 he has only played five competitive matches for the national team.

Rafa Benitez has already shown he isn’t scared of making brave and sometimes unpopular selection decisions,  he backs his judgement.

To put Martin Dubravka into the first team for such an important match, only 11 days after signing and no friendly games or appearances for the reserves, is quite stunning really.

Imagine if it had all gone wrong, the media would have had a field day if the new keeper had proven a flop.

To show the scale of hos big a step up it was, in terms of both quality and environment, Dubravka’s final match for Sparta Prague was a 3-0 home win over Mlada Boleslav in front of 6,234  fans.

To then turn up and play like that in the Premier League, against Manchester United, in front of 52,000+ people, is impressive.

The cherry on top of that icing though, is something I have seen mentioned nowhere else.

The Czech Republic have a long winter break and that final game for Martin Dubravka was the last before this season’s break. That game was on 3 December 2017, so the keeper hadn’t played a match for fully 10 weeks.

It is silly to get too carried away on one performance but to come out and do what he did, handle the pressure, was mighty impressive

Martin Dubravka:

“Two hours before the game. I (still) didn’t know that I would be playing,

“It was an amazing feeling because we won against a very strong team and I’m very happy that we won as a team.

“It was very important for me because when you are in a new club, you are trying to do your best, show people that you deserve to be here.

“Important for me the first touch with the ball, you re trying to help the players and I was happy at that moment I could pass a good ball and stay calm and just enjoy the game.

“We knew at the beginning that we were not in a good position (as Huddersfield had won and put Newcastle in the bottom three), we tried to do our best and go higher.

“I just tried to enjoy the game like every other one before, the other players helped me, especially in the second half.

“I’m also very happy for them, we have the three points.

“We needed to stay calm and keep the ball away from the box,  help each other, not just kick the ball away, keep it a little bit more.

“I think we did well, especially that last 10 minutes – under pressure but we were still trying to play football, not just kick the balls away.

“We (now) have a better feeling than before the game, higher in the league and hopefully we can have more performances like this and take more points from the away games.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0


Newcastle: Ritchie 65

Possession was Man Utd 64% Newcastle 36%

Total shots were  Man Utd 13 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Man Utd 6 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Man Utd 10 Newcastle 0

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 84), Gayle (Joselu 80), Perez (Hayden 90+4)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Murphy, Merino

Crowd: 52,309 (Man Utd 3,000)

(Alan Shearer gives his reaction to the win HERE)

(Read Jose Mourinho’s reaction to the match HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory HERE)

(Rafa Benitez verdict after beating Manchester United HERE)

(Read Mohamed Diame reaction HERE)

(Read the match report HERE)

  • Paul Patterson

    Dubravka is a Geordie, Dubravka is a Geordie . .

    • Wor Lass

      I`ve just gotta repost my M-Dubs rubbish from last night. I`m really glad he`s Over Here now and I hope he can Bump`n`Grind his way through the next 11 games – preferably without Killin anyBody (sorry about that one!). Ha ha – don`t know who it was that came up with M-Dubs but it`s inspired. Don`t know if it can give us a good chant, though.

      • Geordiegiants

        It was yours truly, I hope someone comes up with a good chant from it, as the last chant I remember inspiring was: oh Ozzie ozzie, Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Ardiles! So a new more up to date one to put a claim on would be good. 👍

        • Wor Lass

          Get your thinking cap on!

        • Peaky Magpie

          To the conga tune “Du Du Du Du it’s Du Dubravka”….my lawyer is copyrighting and sorting royalties out as I type…..🤣😂🤣

          • Geordiegiants

            As long as it doesn’t infringe on my mdubs idea you can sing what you want. 😃

          • Peaky Magpie

            Deal 😂😂

          • Wor Lass

            I wouldn`t buy it and i wouldn`t give it 5. Sorry!

          • Peaky Magpie

            Ok back to the guitar 🎸🎵🎵

    • Dingus

      It’d be “Martin is a Geordie”, no? Like with Srnicek, use his first name

      • Paul Patterson

        Martin seems a bit vague..

        • Dingus

          What on earth are you talking about? It’s literally his name you wally!

        • Dingus

          And fits syllabically too. Hence why the chant never went “Srnicek is a Geordie”

  • StevieB

    I can see him being held in the same regard as Pavel Srnicek soon. Fair to see is is going to become very very popular .

  • Alex

    It was certainly a tad better than Karelse’s debut at The Dell.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Bloody hell,forgot all about him..

  • TheNutJob

    It`s all doon hill for Marty, how can you get any better than his debut

    • Peaky Magpie

      90yrd half volley from his own box straight past Mignolet at The Kop End……after saving 3 penalties…..Final Score…Liverpool 0-1 Newcastle…

      • TheNutJob


      • Kneebotherm8

        Now that would be playing a blinder Peaky!!!!

        • Wor Lass

          Like it!

        • Arty Hume

          I see what you did there…LOL’s ;)

        • Peaky Magpie

          Very good 👍

  • ghostrider

    One game at a time.
    Great debut and looks safe.
    A baptism of fire is over and now he can savour it and concentrate on Bournemouth, plus becoming more integrated into the Newcastle dressing room.

    Our season has restarted so let’s move forward and not look back.

  • Kneebotherm8

    One of the best debuts for us that I’ve seen…………SuperMacs against Liverpool springs to mind…….as a fan it just gives a feel good factor……KKs against QPR lifted the place too..

  • Rich Lawson

    I liked his interview on MOTD 2 as well,clearly has a good command of English,which is important to instruct his defence and came across as humble and respectful toward Al’s comments. Really hope he can keep this form up and be a no 1 we can have confidence in.

  • Arty Hume

    Incredible debut but we cannot expect him to perform miracles every week until the end of the season. I sincerely hope he can perform miracles every game but to top that performance will be some ask. I hope he settles in well and gives his best for the team, without putting pressure on him. After all, jumping from 6k attendances to 52k is a big step, just hope he does not get over awed, we need to be patient with him and give him some time. If he does not need it and thrives on it, great, so much the better.

  • Andy Mac

    What happened to my previous comment about the Mag eating Humble Pie ? The article about “journeyman” Dubravka now looks a little unfair ? I’ll agree I was hooked by the article too so no harm in admitting you got it wrong eh ?