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Rafa Benitez knew Mike Ashley had turned up but no conversation “I knew he was here”

3 years ago

Another rollercoaster day in the life of Newcastle United and Mike Ashley was there to witness it.

The Chelsea goalkeeper having cost far more than the entire Newcastle United team and yet the visitors unlucky not to get something.

A squad small on numbers and quality, then further hit by injuries, loan issues and international commitments.

Rafa Benitez still somehow putting out a makeshift team that deserved to get at least a point.

After the match the manager said that he had been told that Mike Ashley was at the game but that the club’s owner hadn’t bothered to make contact after the final whistle.

Newcastle now in the relegation zone and the manager not allowed any January reinforcements so far, the situation is critical.

Rafa Benitez happy with Chelsea display but not result and his final analysis… ‘Next week against Cardiff will be massive.’

With Man City at home and then Spurs and Wolves away after that, the Premier League could end up looking horrendous in a month’s time if there isn’t three points against Cardiff.

Current Premier League table:

Rafa declared: ‘We have to be better than three teams and if we play like we did today then we will do it.’

Looking for three clubs to hopefully finish above, Huddersfield are definitely one, Fulham need to be another, whilst Cardiff are the stand out to make it three.

The term ‘must win game’ is used far too often but if Newcastle aren’t above Cardiff next Saturday night, that will be some mountain to climb.

Rafa Benitez asked about Mike Ashley turning up at Stamford Bridge:

“I was talking with Lee Charnley before the game but I didn’t see Mike (Ashley) after (the match)…but I knew he was here.

“We conceded a goal we could avoid (after nine minutes) but then after that we were fighting for every ball.

“These players care and you could see that.

“We were working so hard against a good team, we were doing well.

“It’s a pity but a piece of quality from a player (Willian) with quality made the difference (with the winner) at the end.

“We finished the first half being the better side. That, for me, was clear.

“In the second half they started moving the ball with more pace and you are getting tired, it’s not easy, but we finished with a corner, so we couldn’t do more.

“You could see a lot of positives with the performance but no points.

“We knew that they would keep the ball and so we had to maximise what we did when we got the ball.

“We had some chances on the counter but our final pass wasn’t there.

“What I can see is that we have to stay calm because it is a long distance race….next week against Cardiff will be massive.

“We have to win more games, we have to do well in the rest of the games.

“I have confidence in the team if they continue to work as they did today.

“We will have chances to get points against teams who will be closer to us.

“We have to be better than three teams and if we play like we did today then we will do it.

“Rondon didn’t have much power (with his late headed chance hat went past the post) but at least we were there.

“The point for me is that the team was working so hard and they fight for each other, they fight for every ball, they try until the last minute.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1


Chelsea: Pedro 9, Willian 57

Newcastle: Clark 40

Possession was Chelsea 66% Newcastle 34%

Total shots were  Chelsea 10 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Chelsea 6 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Chelsea 8 Newcastle 5

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin (Manquillo 82), Lejeune, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff, Perez (Murphy 82), Atsu, Rondon

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Joselu, Schar, Fernandez, Sterry

Crowd: 40,491

(David Pleat reviews the match HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1 HERE)

(Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players v Chelsea HERE)

(Maurizio Sarri says his players thought it was too easy – Read HERE)


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