Rafa Benitez a happy man as he reflects on players and fans after defeating Bournemouth
Rafa Benitez must have got a lot of satisfaction out of Saturday’s result.
When Matt Ritchie was subbed and Hayden came on, the Newcastle United eleven on the pitch, cost roughly the same as Bournemouth’s summer signing Jefferson Lerma.
The Cherries midfielder gave them hope but it was Rafa Benitez’ budget strike option Salomon Rondon who carried the day.
A brave decision to go with a loan striker who averages eight goals a season in the Premier League as the team’s best route for goals – but when Mike Ashley sets your shopping budget it is an all but impossible task.
Rafa Benitez saying ‘We knew about the conditions to sign him and for this price, to get a striker of this experience in the Premier League, is not easy. We knew his mentality and we knew he could give us something different.’
Rafa is even happier in the knowledge that there is plenty of improvement to come once Rondon reaches full fitness.
Saturday showed that both players and fans ave still got it in them, Newcastle’s progressive play and early goal meant the crowd were sparked into life early in the game and everybody benefited: ‘We have to give credit to our players, they were very good. They gave everything and the atmosphere was good.’
Moving forward, Rafa’s message never changes as to how he can get the best from his limited resources: ‘If we keep united then we will be stronger.’
I totally agree but what about if he was given proper backing in the transfer market as well…?
“We knew that Bournemouth would be difficult because they have had good form and are doing well.
“We have to give credit to our players, they were very good.
“They gave everything and the atmosphere was good.
“We have done well in some games but that was one of the best mentalities and also the way we competed for the ball.
“Salomon Rondon did well.
“He has to improve his fitness but he was working well and trying to fight the defenders.
“He showed what he can do and is giving us something different.
“I am really pleased with him – he is strong but still he can improve.
“He will be better physically, if he keeps training well he will do even better.
“We knew about the conditions to sign him and for this price, to get a striker of this experience in the Premier League, is not easy.
“We knew his mentality and we knew he could give us something different.
“The fans were behind us 100% and they knew the importance of this game.
“They appreciated the commitment of the players and that is the key.
“If we keep united then we will be stronger.
“Bournemouth changed their play in the second half and so we had to change ours, also losing players to a few knocks.
“We did well but they have pace and ability up front and we needed to take chances and finish the game.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1
Newcastle : Rondon 7, 40
Bournemouth: Lerma 45+6
Possession was Bournemouth 61% Newcastle 39%
Total shots were Bournemouth 14 Newcastle 18
Shots on target were Bournemouth 4 Newcastle 6
Corners were Bournemouth 10 Newcastle 7
Referee: Lee Probert
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 74), Diame (Atsu 80), Ki , Kenedy (Clark 78), Rondon, Perez
Darlow, Joselu, Manquillo, Longstaff
Crowd: 49,266 (Bournemouth approx 600)
(Alan Shearer Match of The Day comments HERE)
(Salomon Rondon rates it ‘The Perfect Saturday’ – Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to beating Bournemouth HERE)
(Paul Merson covered Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1 for Sky Sports – Had plenty to say afterwards HERE)
(Match ratings of all NUFC players HERE)
(Honest Eddie Howe reaction to the match and result HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]