Rafa Benitez talks about the injuries, luck and match officials after Blackburn 2 Newcastle 4
Rafa Benitez had plenty to reflect on after Tuesday night’s FA Cup reply at Blackburn.
Six goals, young players making the difference, but some injury worries ahead of Cardiff on Saturday.
Jamaal Lascelles is the biggest worry with a hamstring problem.
Ciaran Clark went off at half-time with a knee inflammation which the manager indicated isn’t thought to be serious.
However, Lascelles only lasted 12 minutes as his replacement and was clearly uncomfortable/in pain for all but the first few seconds of his time on the pitch.
Much like at Chelsea when he was left holding his hamstring after seeing the ball out of play, the NUFC captain was left doing the same last night. However, he indicated to the bench that he wanted to try and run it off, only to have to finally accept he had to look after himself, replaced by Hayden in the 57th minute.
The Newcastle manager saying it is a case of having to wait and see: “With Jamaal we have to wait because it is too early. When it is a hamstring you never know.”
Luckily, centre-back is the only area where Newcastle have any strength in depth and whilst Fernandez and Schar took knocks, they should be fine for Cardiff, with Lejeune also set to be available after being rested last night. A bonus if Clark and Lascelles are also available.
As for luck?
Rafa Benitez wasn’t having it and said that Blackburn’s second goal on the stroke of half-time shouldn’t have counted.
Scoring goals was a big bonus for the manager and especially it being younger players (Roberts and Longstaff) and strikers Perez and Joselu.
Rafa Benitez asked if his team had been lucky with Joselu not being blown up for offside on his goal:
“No, I don’t think that was luck.
“I think that the second (Blackburn) goal before that was a foul against one of our players, and a free-kick, and then they score.
“These things can happen.
“In this case we scored the third goal.
“You can complain if you want, but overall we scored four goals, so it’s difficult to complain about that.
“I think it’s important to win, to score four goals and to go through, so I am really pleased with that.
“At the same time you have some problems and maybe you will lose some players (to injury), hopefully not, we will see in a couple of days how they are.
“We won, and everybody has to be happy now and hopefully also it will help for the confidence of the players.
“After conceding and reacting like we did, as a manager I have to be really pleased with them.
“You wanted to win, you needed to win and to do it with the character they showed, with the reaction, and four goals. Young players scoring goals, Joselu and Ayoze scoring goals, players who needed to score, that has to be good for the confidence of the team for sure.”
“With Jamaal we have to wait because it is too early.
“When it is a hamstring you never know.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Blackburn 2 Newcastle 4
Newcastle – Longstaff 1, Roberts 22, Joselu 105+3, Perez 106
Blackburn – Armstrong 33, Lenihan 45+1
Possession was Blackburn 55% Newcastle 45%
Total shots were Blackburn 13 Newcastle 22
Shots on target were Blackburn 4 Newcastle 10
Corners were Blackburn 8 Newcastle 6
Referee: Lee Probert
Woodman, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark (Lascelles 46 (Hayden 57)), Sterry, Ritchie (Atsu 109), Schar, Longstaff, Murphy, Roberts (Perez 94), Joselu
Harker, Yedlin, Rondon
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE)
(Read match ratings and comments on all NUFC players after beating Blackburn HERE)
(Tony Mowbray blames match officials for defeat to Newcastle – Read HERE)
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