It has been a tough opening to the season for Rafa Benitez.
We are now 12 weeks into the season and his Newcastle team are still to pick up a victory.
There have been 10 matches so far, 11 if you include Forest in the League Cup, and only defeats and three goalless draws to show for their efforts so far.
Rafa Benitez says that when everything is wrong with a football team then ‘radical changes’ are necessary.
However, the manager says he doesn’t accept that this is the case at Newcastle United.
Rafa thinks his players have been ‘very, very close in a lot of games’ to getting their first win of the season and certainly the Man Utd and Brighton matches were games Newcastle could/would have won if the small margins had gone in their favour.
Even the game at Southampton only needed them to find a goal from somewhere as Southampton were kept out by a decent defensive performance.
Newcastle have suffered in the past by players in the first team knowing they are guaranteed starters no matter what happens and there is definitely an element of that at the moment.
When squad players have been given a chance this season none of them have grabbed it and now the manager is looking for the likes of Murphy, Atsu, Hayden, Ki and others to put pressure on those playing week in week out.
Rafa Benitez talks about trying to give confidence to both the players and fans and sadly it is a vicious circle, as only by winning matches will confidence and momentum stand a chance of returning.
Successive home games against Watford and Bournemouth give the players, both first team and fringe, a chance to kick start the season belatedly, here’s hoping they can step up.
“We analyse things but also sometimes when you are making radical changes, it is because everything is wrong.
“I don’t accept it is all wrong.
“Yes we are losing – but we have been very, very close in a lot of games.
“I want them (squad players) to perform on the pitch and in training, to put me under more pressure.
“I told the other players on the bench to put me under more pressure.
“I want them all to push me harder.
“We have to stay calm.
“We have to give confidence to the players.
“Give confidence to the fans by reminding them that we did it last year.
“We have to carry on working hard.”