Danny Murphy had some encouraging words for Newcastle United.
After three months and 11 games without a victory, the BBC Sport pundit thought there were positives to take out of the 1-0 victory over Watford, other than the obvious three points.
Summing up what he had seen, Danny Murphy declared ‘…a group of players trying to win a game of football for their manager and their city.’
How they achieved that wasn’t due to great football in the main, Murphy instead talking ‘ran the hard yards’ and put their bodies on the line’ to enable the club to get out of the bottom three, even if that only proves temporary with games still to be played this weekend.
Even the most biased Newcastle fan would have to accept that Watford could and should have been out of sight by half-time.
The visitors were so much on top that they appeared very comfortable in the knowledge that they were set to win, as Danny Murphy points out, they had 13 shots before the break as they cut through Newcastle with ease.
As always though, you have to take your chances when on top and the final half hour saw Newcastle take advantage, finding a goal of their own somehow (it was always going to be a set-piece if it ever came) and that completely popped Watford’s balloon. Their attacking play faltered as Newcastle got a little confidence and momentum with the crowd stirred into life, with Ki instrumental in at last getting the home side playing some football.
Danny Murphy believes ‘That might give them a platform and a springboard now, to go on a decent run.’
With a side that appears to have so few goals in them, you can’t imagine Newcastle winning too many matches comfortably this season.
However, next week we have a very similar set-up, Rafa’s team at home to a team with better players than NUFC who play good attacking football and have made as good a start to the season as Watford.
Newcastle are unlikely to overpower Bournemouth with football but if they show the same grit and determination and get the odd break like they did against Watford, plus find a goal or two from somewhere, then it could be a valuable six points from the two games before the international break.
It is now 243 minutes since Newcastle conceded a goal and Rafa’s defensive expertise and discipline looks clearly to be set to be the main factor if the Magpies are indeed to be safe this season.
Danny Murphy speaking on Match of The Day:
“Watford were terrific in the first half – they had 13 shots.
“People sometimes question whether players are playing for a manager.
“I will tell you what I saw today…
“They dug in at times and it wasn’t pretty.
“It wasn’t a great performance but they ran the hard yards.
“They put their bodies on the line against a good Watford side.
“They (Watford) make chances and they have beaten some good teams.
“Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you get a win, just so long as you get one…and they (Newcastle) were desperate for one.
“That might give them a platform and a springboard now, to go on a decent run.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Watford 0
Goal: Perez 65
Possession was Watford 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Watford 16 Newcastle 10
Shots on target were Watford 1 Newcastle 2
Corners were Watford 9 Newcastle 8
Referee: Craig Pawson
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Schar 45), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey (Ki 51), Kenedy, Rondon, Muto (Perez 45+2)
Darlow, Joselu, Manquillo, Atsu
Crowd: 49,157 (Watford approx 1,500)
(Thousands of Newcastle fans didn’t miss much apart from a win! – Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Watford 0 – Read HERE)
(Javi Gracia can’t believe how his Watford side didn’t win, never mind get beat – Read HERE)
(Graeme Swann video message for Rafa Benitez after Newcastle win – See HERE)
(Charlie Nicholas dissects Newcastle 1 Watford 0 – Read HERE)