Rafa Benitez all but rules out a ‘miracle’ at Newcastle United
Rafa Benitez added another point to the team’s total on Saturday afternoon.
Newcastle United head into Christmas with 17 points in 15th place in the table.
A year ago it was 15 points after 18 games and Newcastle were third bottom.
So at the moment it is two points of progress compared to last season but Rafa Benitez had a stark message after this shocking goalless draw against rock bottom Fulham: ‘I said after Huddersfield that we have to give credit to this group of players, because with all the circumstances here, they are doing well.’
Will those circumstances change?
A takeover of the club looks unlikely, at least in terms of being in time to influence this current season.
Rafa Benitez and the fans will believe that miracle when they see it but the manager had another unlikely miracle on his mind ahead of Christmas: ‘We have to realise that we will be in the bottom half of the table during the whole season because it’s like that, and if we do well and we can be higher, it will be another miracle.’
Last season Newcastle did really well in the circumstances, ending up 10th, although that league position did carry some good fortune, as it was the lowest ever points total to secure a Premier League top half finish.
At the moment Newcastle are only eight points off Wolves in tenth but surely in reality a million miles away, unless we see a number of miracles in January.
With fans sceptical of the takeover happening soon, if at all, could Mike Ashley finally allow any kind of realistic spending on players next month?
The manager has once again stated in recent days that he still doesn’t know how much, if anything, he will have to spend on new players in this vital upcoming window.
Previous Januarys saw Rafa Benitez blocked from signing anybody in January 2017 and only loan deals in January 2018, fans will always hope for better but the reality is sadly that supporters will expect no better this time.
“I’m not happy with a point, but I’m happy because we didn’t lose, and we have four points from the last two games.
“I want to win…I want to win every game, the problem is you have to be realistic.
“If you cannot win, be sure you don’t lose these kind of games.
“It is not easy for anybody here.
“During the game I was not happy with some situations and decisions.
“The worst thing is that, in a game we could win, where we were pushing and we had control, we could have lost it in that last counter-attack.
“Sometimes it can be tense at home, when they say you have to win the game, but Fulham spent a lot of money in the summer…
“They are bottom but they do have a good team.
“They’re organised, had five at the back and were dangerous on the counter-attack.
“It’s good that we didn’t lose, but the negative is that we gave Fulham those situations to score, and were a bit lucky in the end.
“It was not easy to break them down but overalll I think we deserved to win because we were in control.
”We will analyse what we do as we have to improve if we want to break down these teams and win these kind of games.
“It is a pity, because people were expecting us to win this game, but I was more concerned about the mistake we made at the end.
“The only positive thing is that we didn’t lose….
“I said after Huddersfield that we have to give credit to this group of players, because with all the circumstances here, they are doing well.
“We have to realise that we will be in the bottom half of the table during the whole season because it’s like that, and if we do well and we can be higher, it will be another miracle.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Fulham 0
Possession was Fulham 46% Newcastle 54%
Total shots were Fulham 4 Newcastle 9
Shots on target were Fulham 2 Newcastle 0
Corners were Fulham 0 Newcastle 6
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Dubravka, Manquillo (Yedlin 84), Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Ki, Diame, Atsu (Kenedy 72), Rondon, Perez
Woodman, Joselu, Muto, Hayden, Fernandez
Crowd: 51,237 was announced but looked around 49,000-50,000 in reality (Fulham around 500, large minibus)
(Rafa Benitez needs to hold his hands up to this one? Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to this bore draw – Read HERE)
(Claudio Ranieri claims Fulham had 4 or 5 chances to win but Newcastle didn’t have single shot at goal – Read HERE)
(Alan Shearer savages Newcastle United match ahead of Match of The Day – Read HERE)
(Paul Merson only sees bleak times ahead for Newcastle United after covering the match against Fulham – Read HERE)
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