Predictably, Rafa Benitez has found himself in the spotlight this season.

No wonder, a Champions League winning, double La Liga and twice Europa League successful, now managing  a team that currently sits 19th in the Premier League.

I have seen ‘experts’ suggesting that Rafa’s tactics are ‘outdated’ now.

I have seen a growing number of journalists claiming that Newcastle’s problems so far with results this season, may be a lot down to the tactics employed by the NUFC boss.

I have even noticed a very small minority of Newcastle fans also going down this line, whether easily influenced by what they read, or just trying to stand out by saying something that gets attention.

I agree that there is a debate to be had about Rafa’s tactics BUT not in terms of how they influence results.

Personally, I would like Newcastle to come out and play more on the front foot, to try and give me a bit more entertainment.

However, Rafa Benitez is tasked with trying to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League, rather than trying to keep me amused.

In these games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham, whatever tactics had been used, I doubt very much whether we would have had a single point more.

I would have had relatively more attacking formations/tactics if it had been my choice, and Newcastle might have created a few more chances and scored one or two more goals, but the opposition would have scored even more and it would have still been four defeats.

If Newcastle United are relegated, it won’t be Rafa’s tactics to blame, it will be down to the quality of player he had available to put on the pitch.

Obviously I expect Newcastle to be a bit more attacking against Crystal Palace this afternoon but we don’t magically have top quality players suddenly available. Hopefully the likes of Shelvey, Lascelles and Rondon will all start but they aren’t top class stars who can transform our team into something it isn’t.

It says something when it is such a disappointment that £9.5m signing Muto has done nothing so far, a bit like Murphy last summer, expectations are unrealistic of our ‘big’ signing, only ‘big’ because so little has been spent. Huddersfield spent almost twice as much (as the Muto fee) on a defender this summer, Bournemouth spent three times as much (as Muto fee) on a defensive midfielder.

Apart from Muto, Newcastle’s six other signings cost £15m, that is why NUFC may well be relegated.

To say that somebody else could come in and do better with different tactics, using the same players, is laughable.

It is like saying the Titanic wouldn’t have sank if it had employed a different captain who’d turned the deckchairs around.

Cardiff City are expected to go down because they have a squad that isn’t great quality and didn’t cost a lot to put together.

They finished above  Fulham last season in the Championship but because of their relative spending, the places where the two managers were allowed to shop, it is Fulham who are expected to stay up.

Why are Newcastle United any different?

A massive number of players left NUFC after relegation and Rafa Benitez was forced to recruit 12 new players that (2016) summer, players bought specifically to get out of the Championship. Taking away the money spent on Ritchie and Gayle, the other 10 players brought in that summer cost a little over £30m. Not much more than £3m per player, what do you get for that these days?

At the time Rafa said specifically that that was a team to get out of the Championship, with then a very different team needed to deal with the Championship.

If the manager had been backed with three Premier League quality players, as well as a few squad signings last (2017) summer, then the same in this latest (2018 summer) window, then we would have the basis of a team that could start progressing in the top tier.

Instead, the manager has had to sign cheap/cheaper players just to make sure Newcastle had a squad, with things getting really ridiculous this summer, as a £20m+ profit was made and Rafa Benitez forced to heavily rely on loans, free transfers, and next to nothing spent on buys.

Tactics only go so far, the team who have the best players invariably win games, not the ones with the best tactics. Occasionally you get the odd better result and the manager CAN make a difference – but he can’t score and create the goals – you need the quality on the pitch to do that.

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  • Wor Lass

    I notice the likes of Monksatan, Clarko and Bobbi are absent from the forum at the moment. It could be because they changed the locks on the asylum or they might have gone fishing with Randle P McMurphy (think about that one!) but most likely they`re just too embarrassed and can`t bring themselves to publicly acknowledge that Ashley is, in fact, a penny-pinching [email protected] who`s hell-bent on ruinning our club and rubbing the fans` noses on it before he naffs off with his huge wad.

    • Toontaff

      Nurse Ratched has increased their meds!

      • Wor Lass

        Betraying your age. That`s my favourite film of all time.

    • Billmag

      Clarko hasn’t been absent mate his new alias is CKO.

      • Wor Lass

        Yeah, I did clock that the other day and sent him a reminder of his “real” identity. It doesn`t alter the point, though – their support for Jabba is just untenable now.

        • Billmag

          Correct 👍.

          • gordon

            According to ‘CKO’ aka twitchytoes Rafa got us relegated! Despite McLaren managing for 75% of the season, none of the players being Rafa’s and the ‘board’ taking too long to replace Rafa meaning he basically ran out of time (if CKO recalls it took a couple of games to get the team playing his way and then finished the season with six games unbeaten), it is Rafa’s fault🤣 Blissfully unaware that by his own flawed logic Rafa bears sole responsibility for promotion and a 10th place finish. Also keeps harping on about how Rafa is schitt because we couldn’t beat Cardiff or Forest when our team cost more than them. Blissfully unaware that, by his own flawed logic, we should therefore lose against the other 18 premier teams somewhat undermining his god-emperor’s financial plan. Bloke’s a feckin arschole – couldn’t argue his way in a feckin kindergarten 🤣🤣

          • Billmag

            On another post I called him a Cuckoo because he infiltrate’s our forum, he always manipulate’s his arguments to suit his own agenda which is the complete dislike of NUFC.

    • Toontaff

      Monk flew east, Bobbi flew west, Clarko flew over the cuckoo’s nest………

      • Billmag

        😀😀😀😀😀

      • Wor Lass

        I bet Jabba would love to give Rafa a lobotomy – he might be able to con him into signing a new contract.

      • Cockneytrev

        😂😂👍👍👍

    • JohnnyH

      CKO now the new pseudonym for the Ashley apologist

    • Sickandtired

      Coz they are all the same person – and either on holiday or locked up…

      • Wor Lass

        I think that`s what I said in a more roundabout way! lol

    • Superdooperhooper

      Think fleckman is posting under the name pezza now . He was on yesterday spouting his pro ashley anti labour drivel and going on about the accounts

      • Danimal

        Yes that’s him I think. And CKO is Clarko.

  • Toontaff

    I recall fans at SJP calling for Sir Bobby’s head, for being too slow making substitutions. Some called him senile.
    Some of Rafa’s team/squad selections, this season have been poor. We could and should have got at least a point off Spurs and Arsenal, as neither were very good, whilst our performance Cardiff was awful. With the comments in the article about Cardiff, why weren’t we easily beating them?
    Whilst we all know Ashley is to blame for our squad being weak, Rafa cannot be blameless. Last season, the football through November, December and January was atrocious, losing at home to Bournemouth, Watford, Everton, Leicester, drawing with Brighton, Swansea and Burnley.

    • Wor Lass

      SBR was one of life`s gentlemen but I wouldn`t have wanted to be on the receiving end when he lost his rag. Some of the things said about him towards the end of his time here were disgraceful but you only have to trawl through this forum to appreciate that there is a fair proportion of the more vocal fans who are complete numpties who know nothing about the game.

      • Toontaff

        The way SBR was treated, when he was sacked, is my worst memory of our club.

    • Billmag

      With the player’s we have you are not going to get the entertainer’s that’s for sure, and I’m not saying Rafa isn’t blameless the Cardiff game would go down as the worst I’ve seen for a very long time but would any other manager do a better job under the restrictions Ashley put’s on Rafa I don’t think so.

      • Toontaff

        Unfortunately, we’ll be finding out, next season!

        • Billmag

          Oh so true mate.

    • Cockneytrev

      One of the reasons for this, ( not the only one) was that lascelles was injured during the Bournmouth game,, he was the lynchpin of the team,,
      Last week he went off and half time and we looked a different team,,

  • Billmag

    Lyon had a smaller %age of play against Man City and yet went on to win the game, it’s because they had player’s to exploit counter attacking football we haven’t.

    • Wor Lass

      Good point. We need to looking at how “small” French clubs can keep bringing on young players to a European level and we can`t.

  • Paul Patterson

    It’s more than reasonable to say that a more attacking approach against Chelsea, City and to a lesser extent Arsenal, would have ended in heavy defeats.
    Spurs we possibly could have got something if we had gone on the front foot, but then again possibly not.
    We’ve played top six teams that have spent fortunes and only been beaten by 1 goal in each of them.
    Rafa is doing a good job in trying circumstances. If he was simply given £30m (instead of making a profit) we would have the scope to attack. The facts are there for all to see- Don’t spend substantial funds and you’re in trouble. Anyone who thinks he is the problem is an idiot.

    • Toontaff

      We nearly ended up with a point v Arsenal, though the way some of our team practically gave up in the second half was shocking.

    • JohnnyH

      Spot on Paul

    • Cockneytrev

      Well said👏👏👏👏

    • Danimal

      Although people argued the point last season, goal difference is important. In the end, it got us 10th instead of 12th but it could easily be 17th instead of 18th (I know, I’m just a typical Geordie fan with unreasonable expectations!). More importantly I think, the total loss of morale and discipline once 4 and 5 goal hammerings become a regular fixture, as it was under McClaren for example.

  • Philippines

    I recall Liverpool fans expressing frustration at Rafa’s rotation and team selection when he was managing Liverpool.

    • gordon

      Your point is? I am frustrated with some of Rafa’s selection and substitution choices. Doesn’t mean I don’t think he is far and away the best option we could possibly hope for to get us out of this mess and progress. Shame he’s not being given the opportunity to achieve that. My mind recoils in horror at thought of Pardew, McLaren or Carver managing this squad 🤣

    • Billmag

      Rafa got a European trophy for them and is still very well respected by supporters at Liverpool.

    • Geordiegiants

      I don’t recall any of them being frustrated at winning the champions league though, does anyone else?

  • Sickandtired

    I’d like to see a more entertaining style of football. But we have to be realistic. This team and squad simply isn’t good enough and Rafa therefore does what he has to to prevent us from getting hammered.
    PL club with a loan striker, having banked over £20 million profit on transfers. Sums up life under Ashley.

  • Cockneytrev

    There’s 2 ways to play against far superior opponents,
    1) totally defensive e.g. Park the bus.
    2) the other is to kick lumps out of them, e.g. Wimbledon style, this is not possible as you would end up with 7 players on the pitch.
    Benitez gets the best possible out of this pizzpoor squad.