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BBC pundit: “You can’t always blame Mike Ashley” after dismal Newcastle United performance at Forest

2 years ago
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Wednesday night was yet another to forget for Newcastle United.

Going out of a cup to a side from a lower division, we have an addiction to it.

Whilst the referee totally bottled a clear penalty decision at 2-1 down, no Newcastle fan would claim that Forest didn’t deserve to win.

It wasn’t just the three goals, the home side wanted it more and played the better football.

Covering the game on BBC Radio 5 Live, pundit Stephen Warnock couldn’t believe how bad Newcastle were, not just in their play but on the tactics used.

“Newcastle didn’t deserve anything out of the game from a footballing point of view, from a philosophy if you like of going after the game. I think Rafa will be frustrated but he has to look at himself sometimes. You can’t always blame Mike Ashley.”

The thing is, Warnock isn’t your typical clueless pundit who always backs up Ashley and has a go at Rafa, to grab attention.

He usually speaks well of Newcastle United and on what we watched on Wednesday nigh, it is hard to disagree with him.

Newcastle had players missing but the team on the pitch should have done better AND as Warnock says ‘ you’ve got to go for the game’ at least at some point.

He criticises the tactics of just knocking the ball long and indeed it was terrible to watch.

We all know Mike Ashley is at the heart of everything that is wrong at the club but taking this match in isolation, it is very hard to defend your team and manager when they are so poor, show almost zero attacking intent, and have their first shot on target in the 92nd minute.

Do I blame Rafa Benitez for the club being in such a mess, absolutely not.

Do I blame Rafa for this Forest defeat, especially the style of it….well, I have to say yes he does have to take a share of the blame. I don’t mind so much getting beat as these things happen but to not have a real go is very very disappointing.

Stephen Warnock talking on BBC Radio 5 Live:

During the match:

“It’s grim from Newcastle’s point of view.

“We are looking round wondering who is going to bring some inspiration. Maybe Jacob Murphy will bring some brightness and get them back into this game.

“Forest though keep creating chances in this half.

“The subs haven’t affected the game at all from Newcastle. I thought they might step it up for final 10 minutes.

“It’s simply not happened.

“Salomon Rondon found himself in space in the box and produced a lovely finish into the far corner. Newcastle, out of nowhere, have levelled and there has been a real sting in the tail for Nottingham Forest.

“Wow! What play from Gil Dias down the left hand side. He’s been positive all game and drives it across the goal. Karl Darlow can’t hold on and what a finish from Matty Cash. What a response from Forest.

“They have been by far the better team and they totally deserve it.

“The Newcastle players think they should have had a penalty and surround the referee but they didn’t deserve anything from the match.

“Forest played extremely well, inventive, creative and beautiful goals to finish at the end.

“Fully deserved.”

Post-game overview:

Newcastle didn’t deserve anything out of the game from a footballing point of view, from a philosophy if you like of going after the game.

“I think Rafa will be frustrated but he has to look at himself sometimes.

“You can’t always blame Mike Ashley.

“I know fans will say ‘He (Rafa Benitez) hasn’t been backed in the window’ and things like that, but there’s a style of play as well.

“When you put the team on the pitch, you’ve got to go for the game.

“You’re away from home against a team from the league below. You have to go after this team.

“Tonight they just didn’t look at the races at all, and I think that’s the style that Rafa set them up for tonight, because every time Newcastle got the ball they were just knocking it long.

“There’s no football, there’s no skill involved in that, it’s just route one football.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Nottingham Forest 3 Newcastle United 1

Goals

Newcastle: Rondon 90+2

Forest: Murphy 2, Cash 90+4, Dias 90+7

Possession was Forest 46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were  Forest 11 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Forest 7 Newcastle 1

Corners were  Forest 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Crowd: 13,942 (3,000 Newcastle)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Sterry,  Schar, Fernandez (Perez 69), Clark, Kenedy, Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Muto (Murphy 77), Joselu (Rondon 82)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Diame, Yedllin, Dummett

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