Rafa Benitez is clearly trying to use all of his experience to try and hold things together at Newcastle United.
With the constant undermining by Mike Ashley, it is really a job against the odds.
The fans are in revolt and this time there appears to be no chance of that fading away, whilst the bottom line is that Rafa Benitez simply has to try and get on with he job using the tools he has available.
To a backdrop of Ashley refusing to allow any net spending on players and Newcastle making the biggest summer transfer profit of any PL club, NUFC were then handed a nightmare opening to the season.
The fixtures giving up four of last season’s top six in the opening five games, plus Cardiff’s first home fixture after promotion. Plus a rematch against last season’s League Cup conquerors Forest. A potentially toxic combination.
Surveying three defeats and a draw so far, Rafa’s message is ‘Don’t be concerned’, the manager adding: The fans knew at the beginning that it would be a difficult start to the season, so we must just keep working and carrying on.’
Obviously we all have no other option but to ‘carry on’, however, the nature of the performances has been the worrying thing.
The Chelsea game was horrendous to watch but of course the mismatch on resources is clear. No excuses though when playing poor teams such as Cardiff and Forest, where Newcastle created next to nothing and looked the inferior side on both occasions.
With Manchester City and Arsenal next, it doesn’t get any easier, whilst Palace away, Leicester at home, Man U away, takes us two months into the season. Difficult to say with any great confidence where things will start turning for the better.
With this squad I think the position would be all but hopeless with any other manager Mike Ashley would want to employ, so Rafa Benitez remains our one route towards optimism.
Difficult times and everybody needing a lift.
Rafa Benitez asked about these first two and a half weeks of the season after Forest defeat:
“Don’t be concerned.
“The fans knew at the beginning that it would be a difficult start to the season, so we must just keep working and carrying on.
“I am disappointed, everyone could see what happened.
“I didn’t like the beginning of the game but I think the team reacted well.
“We didn’t have much control but we were close, maybe we’re missing the final pass to create the more clear chance.
“When we had the draw and we were there, everyone saw what happened (next).
“It is a concern (having only one shot on target), we had the chances with the header in the first half but the final delivery or pass has to be better.
“Positives today? Rondon scored a goal, so you have to have your strikers scoring goals.
“To win a competition with our squad will not be easy, my team selection was trying to win, nobody can complain about that.
“We were pushing and trying to win.
“With two or three injured we couldn’t take risks with some others, this team was still good enough to win…we have just had three games we were disappointed with.
“It was a team that wanted to win and fight until the end, they tried to win, they didn’t have too many problems in defence and you could see it could be a draw.
“Longstaff and Sterry did well, given that they are young they overall played well.
“Muto needs to learn it is a bit quicker in England. He was fine in terms of effort but there are situations where he has to learn he needs to do things a little faster.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Nottingham Forest 3 Newcastle United 1
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)
Darlow, Sterry, Schar, Fernandez (Perez 69), Clark, Kenedy, Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Muto (Murphy 77), Joselu (Rondon 82)
Elliot, Diame, Yedlin, Dummett