Rafa Benitez reacts to Everton 1 Newcastle 1
Rafa Benitez was satisfied with a point but a part of him was left wondering if it could and should have been all three.
With the glaring difference in finances spent on the two teams/squads, it was always going to be a challenge.
However, a great defensive performance from Martin Dubravka and his three centre-backs, paved the way for a point heading back to Tyneside.
Rafa Benitez pointed to Christian Atsu getting into some great positions but he teammates unable to make the final pass, whilst a great team move near the end saw Atsu inside the box with only Pickford to beat, but on his weaker right foot he failed to make it count.
An interesting one on the statistics.
Everton had 76.3% possession, their highest in a Premier League match for 15 years.
The corner count was 14 v 2 and overall shots were 19 v 8, so no doubt who had control of most of the game.
However, when it came to efforts on target, Newcastle had five and Everton only three.
Some of that you can obviously put down to poor finishing but the defence and Dubravka deserve massive credit.
The way the centre-backs protected the keeper despite the control Everton had, was best summed up when Fernandez produced a top class block when a goal appeared certain.
Dubravka was excellent in commanding his box and whilst the records show he only faced three efforts on target, one of those was a world class save from point blank range to deny Tosun.
Rafa revealed after the game that Kenedy was missing due to a toe injury where he hadn’t even been able to put his boots on to train this week.
Whilst I still find it hard to see Atsu and/or Murphy making it as first team regulars, fans will recognise their contribution when they put in performances and effort like they did at Goodison Park.
If Newcastle are to be OK this season, it will really have to be a squad effort, as it is obvious the lack of real quality, especially in terms of creative players and goalscorers.
“I think the work we produced against a very good team was fantastic.
“We suffered after taking the lead but were better in the second half and both teams had chances to score.
“The main thing was to defend well and to create chances but we would like to be more accurate in our counter-attacks.
“We have to be realistic.
“They are a good team, they had chances in the first half, they have four games unbeaten (wins) at home, so we have to credit our players.
“We defended well and were well organised, doing a fantastic job, the only thing we were not expecting were the chances on the counter-attack that we could have been more clinical with.
“We scored a great goal, we still had two or three (other) chances in the first half, and a couple of chances in the second half, it could have been different.
“But we do have to give credit to them, they (Everton) are a good team and they played well, it was not easy to play against our team or break us down.
“At the end we were looking at getting three points, one way or another, but one point against a very good team can be fine.
“They have won their last four home games and they did well in the Merseyside derby too.
“We needed a back three because we have some problems with players being suspended, things like that which we have to manage, try to be solid.
“It is a pity because we have two or three situations with Atsu, one v one, where we didn’t find this final pass to make the difference.
“Again though, I will say that when you get a point against a good team, away from home, you have to be pleased.
“Murphy and Atsu were really good because defending all the time and, after, attacking, you need the legs.
“The goal was a great counter attack.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Everton 1 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Rondon 19
Everton: Richarlison 38
Possession was Everton 76% Newcastle 24%
Total shots were Everton 19 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Everton 3 Newcastle 5
Corners were Everton 14 Newcastle 2
Referee: Lee Mason
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Lascelles, Manquillo, Diame, Ki, Murphy (Perez 64), Atsu, Rondon (Joselu 74)
Woodman, Shelvey, Clark, Longstaff, Muto
Crowd: 39,350 (Newcastle 1,700)
(Match ratings from Wednesday night for all NUFC players HERE)
(The instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the 1-1 draw HERE)
(3 positives and 3 negatives from Everton 1 Newcastle 1 HERE)
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