Rafa Benitez was clearly not a happy man after the final whistle.

His team coming from a goal behind to equalise with a Matt Ritchie penalty.

However, even the goal that levelled things with six minutes to go was a negative for the Newcastle boss.

It means that a replay now takes place in the midweek before the Magpies face Cardiff at St James Park, arguably the only game in the next month where Newcastle are likely to get any Premier League points.

No wonder Rafa Benitez declared after the final whistle: ‘A reply is bad news’.

To make matters worse, none of the fringe/young players suggested they had anything to offer in the relegation struggle.

Maybe the biggest positive being that Florian Lejeune came through the 90 minutes and did OK.

Rafa Benitez:

“A replay is bad news because we have to play another game but we will try to play in the best way possible…

“It is now another situation we have to manage, use more players, more risk.

“We have to take some positives…

“At home we have to try to finish and we didn’t play at the level we expected but I was pleased with the reaction (After Blackburn scored)

“We tried and they pushed hard.

“You could see them running for every single ball.

“Overall the reaction was good in the final minutes and I will take that as a positive.

“Some players haven’t had a chance to play 90 minutes so it was an opportunity for them to show what they have and I think they worked hard.

“You have to try to make the substitutions, how to change something, we tried to make something and have different characteristics on the pitch and we did.

“I am not happy with another game, I’d have preferred to win, but at least we get another chance.”

Did Blackburn target Freddie Woodman?

“The referee knows that in the second half the approach was different.

“I think sometimes we forget the rules when the ball goes into the six-yard box.

“We had to protect him in the second half.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Blackburn 1

Goals…

Newcastle – Ritchie 84 (Pen)

Blackburn – Dack 56

Possession was Blackburn 46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were  Blackburn 7 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Blackburn 3 Newcastle 9

Corners were  Blackburn 8 Newcastle 7

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo , Schar, Lejeune, Sterry, Ritchie, Longstaff (Perez 80), Hayden (Shelvey 57), Murphy (Atsu 75), Kenedy, Joselu

Unused Subs:

Harker, Clark, Yedlin, Rondon

Crowd: 36,440  (3,000 Blackburn)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction HERE)



  • Tweed Mag

    If a replay is bad news – which it is with the resources available – would it have not been better to try and win it?

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      no. His first and only priority is to rest some of the first team for the slog of staying in the prem.

      • fistsofsteel2

        Rest them!! Most of them have been sleepwalking all season.

        They’re ‘meant’ to be professional players, they are paid £thousands per week, and they’re unable to play this week and then next week without a rest – aw! the poor darlings.

        • Kev Newcastle England

          I love that it was a draw personally,to pi*s off Benitez,Ashley,and loads on here who think staying up is the be all and end all…ha ha ha

      • Tweed Mag

        That was mainly aimed at the players – there was no real effort until they scored. Rafa picked the team and has to share the responsibility. Joselu should not appear again.

      • Gallowgate Dave

        Rest them?! They were knocked out the League Cup in the 2nd round and they don’t play in Europe. Every year they do less work than probably every other team due to our refusal to try in the cups. I don’t want to accept that our existence is merely to try and finish 17th every year and get knocked out the cups as soon as possible and I understand fans who want this about as much as I understand those wearing half and half scarves. I respect Rafa a lot and certainly don’t think we could attract better in the present circumstances but his refusal to try in the cups infuriates me.

        • Ram Kishore

          The Word resting is just a excuse to avoid unexpected injuries to important players ig

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Ram I do get that but I can’t ever accept that our aim is merely to exist, what’s the point? I’d rather risk an injury and go down fighting in the cup. It’s only 6 games, an injury could happen anytime in training or in a league match anyway, finishing 17th is not the point of a football club. For me this is the best sport in the world but I can’t think of any other sport where they actively try to lose so they can prioritise the pursuit of money instead.

          • Ram Kishore

            I really am getting a bit fed up with Rafa Dave.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Don’t get me wrong I’m still a fan of Rafa, I think we’re incredibly fortunate to have him. My anger is still firmly directed at Ashley. Rafa’s stubborn refusal to bother with the cups allied to very defensive, counter attacking football, often justified mind, makes going to the matches very little fun.

          • Ram Kishore

            I like him a lot and fan of him.
            But I feel like I don’t wanna watch us play anymore especially after our match last night.
            Is the team that we fielded in yesterday very bad?
            Apart from Woodman, Sterry, Sean all are proven at that level.
            I feel like Rafa is mishandling players. I think he’s losing Murphy.
            Feels like our players are shackled.

            Aren’t we paying Lazaar his wages, until we find a solution keep him in the squad and give a run in Fa cup. It will at least be a good chance for him and us to sell him.
            Dave I haven’t seen him play ever for us. Can he not even play against Blackburn, is he that bad?

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Well don’t forget he left Rondon, Shelvey, Perez, Clark and Yedlin on the bench. I don’t want to see us throw the FA Cup games and I even think it’s counter-productive. I think a morale boosting win, especially at home, would have been great for us and don’t forget there would have been kids watching their first ever game at St James Park yesterday. It’s an insult to fans and the FA Cup itself, maybe I’m old fashioned but I’m old enough to remember when it was considered prestigious.

            As for Lazaar, I’m only guessing but, his loan spells have been atrocious so I doubt he’s earned his chance.

          • Ram Kishore

            He’s had only one loan spell that too after not playing for the whole championship season after coming from a team playing in Serie A.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Aye but he couldn’t get anywhere near the team of a side that finished rock bottom of Serie A in their one and only season in that league. Our players play fewer games than probably any other league side in the last decade, no way should we be “resting” anyone.

  • fistsofsteel2

    In which case Rafa you should have started with your strongest team and killed the game first half, and then made subs to rest players in the second half. A bit late whinging about it now you oaf after you messed up your tactics – AGAIN!

    – and to think…you used to be a good manager.

  • Natturner26

    Replays are bad news for teams in Europe and other cups. We aren’t Rafa. Stop the constant moaning. If you don’t want to take risks play the kids. I’d rather see Sorensen and the other young players have a go than watch the joke team you put out today.

  • Tommy

    Leave the number one striker on the bench for 90 minutes and you get what you deserve.

    • Billmag

      And what if Rondon got injured and had to play that useless lump up front the rest of the season.

      • Kenny

        Bill what if he`s injured next week, it`s catch 22 situation which is down to the Rat. he could have put Rondon on for the last 20

        • Billmag

          Definitely catch 22 but the thought of the Hoss leading the line sends shivers down my spine.

          • Kenny

            In in the lap of the Gods, at any given time even in training he may pick up an injury. 1st priority has to be a striker,

          • Billmag

            And how long have we been saying that, Demba Ba was the last one I believe.

          • Kenny

            He was at that & it shows just what Ashley is doing to the club

          • Billmag

            He’s seriously [email protected]@d off and no body can blame him Kenny.

      • 5floorshigh

        same goes for next game, then the next, and so on and so on…which means by your reasoning we should never play him

        • Billmag

          What a ridiculous statement of course a player could get injured at any time, if we had decent backup then by all means play Rondon tonight.

          • 5floorshigh

            I did not make the statement about if he got injured, that was your statement.

          • Billmag

            Correct that was my statement and I stand by it.

  • 5floorshigh

    “A replay is bad news because we have to play another game”…you whinging negative miserable old man

    • Billmag

      Shocking analysis.

      • Kenny

        No need to call the manager, i think he messed up today but what he has done for the club is a miracle & i think it`s getting him down working under as scumbag like Ashley.

        • 5floorshigh

          he got it wrong today which is fair enough, but then to come out with whinging comments is just bad banter

    • Paul Patterson

      How unbelievably harsh. Slagging the manager off helps no-one. We don’t need this extra game. The side to play Blackburn in a fortnight should be the weakest possible.
      You can argue that Rondon/Shelvey etc should have started and then brought off and I’d agree with you, but now we’ve drawn today the replay becomes the most meaningless game of the season . .

      • 5floorshigh

        yep all down to Rafa team selection, there is a week before next game so could have easily played a much stronger team instead of risking it with the team he selected. Then post match he whinges – just find it all a bit bad attitude.

      • Ram Kishore

        If players can be criticised, so can our manager. A bit harsh but the truth

  • Kenny

    The writing was on the wall when the Hoss missed an open goal from about 8 yards, it was harder to miss than hit.
    there`s a full week before we play Chelsea so the likes of Shelvey & Rondon could And should have started, now we have an extra game so playing a weak side backfired big time.
    I won`t be watching MOTD it will be to embarrassing.

  • Ba ba.

    Should of fookin won it then

  • Peaky

    26 days and counting down of the transfer window been open…..27 days and counting down til Rafa says “adios I’m away in May”….shyte from top to bottom…

    • Kenny

      Transfer windows mean nothing at Newcastle, do they

      • Peaky

        You’re right,we don’t have one,non existent…the club now reminds me of once grand stately homes that have just been left to rot and decay….sad times.

      • Toontaff

        Rumours of unknowns signing…………

  • BigHairyDog

    Go back to 2004, the manager fails to deliver his usual miracle and the fickle fans hound him out. We are in this position now not because Rafa Benitez has failed us or his tactics are suddenly wrong, we’re in this position because our squad is built up with bargain basement signings. Not only are they out of the bargain basement, they’re the ones the other teams didn’t want. All the best bargain basement players went at the beginning of transfer windows not the end, but Rafa didn’t even know his budget until the very end of the window.

    All this criticism of Rafa, the hounding by clueless idiots who think a top young manager will come and have us play like KKs entertainers, they’re deluded. We are the result of the 11 years of Mike Ashley’s ownership

    • Paul Patterson

      Exactly. Quality scaled back until this is the result. The only thing that hasn’t been tried, is giving him decent money. If he was to fail AFTER that, he’d have no excuses and nowhere to turn.
      Until then, people should aim their anger at the owner . .

      • Martin Rooney

        139m he has spent on players
        Four of his first team Mainstays lascelles dummett shelvey Perez where here before him wake up will you Rafa has not done well.
        And when he leaves we’ll still have hoss atsu manquillo Haydon et Al

        • Martin Rooney

          When he came we had janmat, Townsend, mitro, wjinuldum, mbabu, Aaron’s, tiote and others at the club.

          • Paul Patterson

            Did you not hear about the relegation?

    • Kenny

      I agree 99% but we may as well play without a striker than have Hoss on the pitch

      • Peaky

        Hoss needs his professional license revoking….he’s just not capable or up to it.

        • Kenny

          The only thing good about today was to see Lejeune back

        • Mrkgw

          Hoss is a horror show. Worst I remember – even likes of Stephane Guivarch and Andreas Andersson did more in terms of cutting edge. Rafa needs to accept that he just aint up to the job.

          • Mrkgw

            That said, both weren’t much better on reflection. But, Rafa needs to look elsewhere. Sorensen if need be.

          • fistsofsteel2

            Joselu is on £50k per week. Newcastle offered Sorensen £1,500 per week.
            Do the club think Joselu is 33.33 times better than Sorensen? Sorensen must be really awful…

          • Martin Rooney

            30k per werk

          • Geordiegiants

            I’m sure he already had before he even bought him.

        • Toontaff

          AP McCoy couldn’t get Hoss going!

  • Mrkgw

    Sooner that Ashley goes the better for us all. He has reduced the club into a laughing stock. Things aren’t going well for Rafa and I could easily throw criticism his way. But, I equally acknowledge that working for this callous despicable must he horrendous. The result today was pitiful and Rafa got the selection wrong yet again. Why he sticks with Joselu is beyond comprehension. But Ashley has denied him of meaningful resources and for that reason, the buck stops with the owner. ASHLEY OUT!

    • Martin Rooney

      Get has purchased 139m of players in the last four years Bournemouth 137m four of his first team pre dated him so please tell us how he hasn’t had the funds?

      • Paul Patterson

        Net spend? Since promotion?

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    Lots of dolts on here today moaning about Rafa or the players instead of staying focused on the real issue. Cutting out the fat cancer needs to be our first and only priority. People are wasting their breath crying about anything else until the root cause of our misery is removed.

    • Kenny

      Problem is the protests & boycott are history, just when the pressure was getting to Fatty everything was called off, the biggest rick ever,

      • Andy Mac

        The Wolves boycott was called off because the protest group were between a rock and a hard place after Fatman claimed the sale was well underway.

        It was a cynical move designed to put The Magpie Group under pressure and they, given the relatively poor levels of support for the protest, chose to abandon their plans for the good of the fan base.

        Fatman is the one who has held this club back for almost 12 years. He continues to divide the fan base and holds us all in contempt.

        He has to be the number one priority but fans have to unite behind the protesters if they want to see him go.

        • Martin Rooney

          We’re would he go if there is no one to buy?

          • Jock Mcglock

            Of course there are buyers. 300 million is peanuts for a PL club. It’s just not for sale.

          • Andy Mac

            There are plenty of buyers at a sensible price. Fatman wants his cake and ice cream with the cherry on top. This club at present is not worth £300m🙄

  • Andy Mac

    Taking all those previous comments into consideration, fully accepting that Rafa has suffered at the whims of the Fatman, we had another seven days to prepare for our next game.

    Whenever a player is asked about the question of resting or playing in the Cup and/or enjoying a Cup run they invariably choose the latter. Cup runs are good for morale, good for team bonding and of course for the fans.

    If we’d played Shelvey and Rondon from the start we’d have had a much better chance of winning the game as we clearly improved when JJ appeared. So sorry Rafa if you’re not happy with the extra game then you only have yourself to blame.

    • mentalman

      Ritchie has been in the press this week about the mood in the dressing room, a good win in the cup would have been great for morale. How many losing streaks have been broken by a cup game, instead rafa decides to try and keep ours going

  • Kenny

    The replay, put the kid up front, there`s nothing to lose & for me he`s mobile & pops up in the right place at the right time.
    give the lad a go

    • 5floorshigh

      would love to see that happen…fingers crossed Rafa takes the chance on him…anyone but the Hoss !

      • Geordiegiants

        Is the hoss not our top scorer?

        • richard bell

          No

          • Geordiegiants

            Sorry he is our second top scorer.

    • Natturner26

      He won’t play him I don’t know why though.

      • Toontaff

        Hoss is clearly his lovechild, along with Mannequin a Brylcreem Boy!

  • StevieB

    If it was bad to replay why did he put a 2nd string out and heap even more negativity upon this now disastrous club

  • Martin Rooney

    He should have tried to win it by playing a better team for the first 60 mins or so.
    His fault nee one else’s.
    Didn’t play muto midweek then drops the other number 10 today the blokes a loony

    • Paul Patterson

      Er Muto?

      • Martin Rooney

        The point being that if players need rested and refreshed he could have done that with Perez midweek playing muto as he did when we were away at man u.

        • Paul Patterson

          So play Muto against Man Utd? Not sure that would be the wisest .

          • Martin Rooney

            He didn’t do too bad down there! And if he’s not good enough to compete with Perez why pay £11m for him.

    • And risk injuries that might get us relegated?
      I’m glad you are not our manager!

      • Martin Rooney

        Can you tell me of any third round injuries to players which led to a club being relegated to the championship

        • So, you are saying there is no chance that say Rondon and Dubravka might not get injured in a cup game? Without them we are as good as relegated.

  • Martin Rooney

    Time to pay the hoss’s contract up and say thanks and goodbye nice bloke tries but is poor

  • Mr_Kinnear

    Picked a weak team, drew and have an unwanted replay. Everyone can over analyse as much as they please. Although let’s move onto the Big Sale and 5 top quality players coming in by the end of January.😂😂😂😂😂

  • Sumit Sengupta

    I feel bad for Rafa and at the same time, Ashley’s tactics is amazing.

    I was watching this game and could see the lack of options and the dilemma for the manager. Who to play? Who to save for PL games? Are cups more important than survival? He knows that his team is not entertaing the supporters who just want to see good performances but he doesn’t have enough good players to do so.

    Watching him in interviews, there is a change setting in. He looks increasingly despondent and hopeless. His body language has changed. Yes, he still talks of this team performing a miracle but sounds less optimistic. Has he lost the faith? Possible. But I feel his biggest frustration is that he is letting the fans down.

    On the other hand, Ashley is playing his cards smartly. Diversion tactics of takeover stories during transfer windows, not having to invest much in the squad, and, most importantly, slowly turning the fans against a popular manager by giving him no choice. This will lead to a point where either Benitez will leave or the fans will hound him out because of the displays and results. Both suits Mr. Ashley. Just amazing!

    There are still games left in PL. NUFC is not relegated yet. They may survive one more season. But Rafa, if you feel that you need to go, go with a flourish. Take off the shackles and let this team at least try to entertain the fans with some attractive football. Because after some more defeats, even the goal difference may not matter. Why not show the owner what he is going to miss.

  • I say we sell whoever we can apart from Yedlin ,Dummett, Dubravka and Perez and try to get as many better players as we can.
    Kenedy and Murphy are done here, they couldn’t muster anything against a mid-table Championship side!
    And people wonder why Murphy isn’t on the bench! He was beyond poor!

    • Toontaff

      He was good for Norwich, in the Championship played well v Everton, then dropped. Rafa is to blame, here, because he is killing the lad’s enthusiasm and hope. People, I cannot call ’em fans, booed him off – disgraceful – he was the only one who came around the pitch at the end, with Kenedy and Hayden worthy of boos, because they do not even try!

      • BigHairyDog

        We don’t see what Murphy’s attitude is like in training.

  • mentalman

    So is a manager trying to get his team knocked out of a cup

  • Themoscow72

    If he had started with the team he finished with and had Rondon on the game would have been over by half time and he could have took them off. Only one man to blame Rafa. Now as he rested eight players I am expecting nothing less than three points against Chelsea.

    • Wezza

      You do know Chelsea actually spend money to invest in their squad don’t you? We have a championship squad and you expect a win? Give yourself a shake!