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Journalist slaughtered by Newcastle fans after ridiculous criticism of Rafa Benitez team selections

1 year ago

Rafa Benitez has been criticised by a local journalist about his team selections.

The criticism came after the FA Cup quarter-final matches this weekend.

As well as Manchester City, Brighton, Watford and Wolves all went through into the semi-finals.

This promoted Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo to declare: ‘Rafa Benitez has done an awful lot right during his time at NUFC but his team selections for FA Cup matches have repeatedly left a lot to be desired.’

Newcastle fans have instantly came to the manager’s defence.

When Newcastle played Watford in the fourth round, seven players didn’t play who were then named in the following Premier League match.

However, as fans have pointed out below, Watford’s manager changed his entire team. The simple fact being that Watford have a far stronger squad than Newcastle.

By far the biggest factor though is that deep in a relegation fight, Rafa Benitez simply couldn’t afford to risk key players such as Salomon Rondon, especially with facing Manchester City only three days later AND any injury or lack of full fitness meaning Joselu would lead the line instead.

At that time, Newcastle were only two points above the relegation zone and had won only one of their last six PL games.

Also, if Mike Ashley had backed Rafa Benitez early in the transfer window (Watford match was 26 days in) ten just maybe one or two new signings could have helped NUFC stay in the FA Cup…

By far the killer fact though is that, Rafa’s team selections played a key part in the stat that Newcastle United remain the only team to have beaten Manchester City in 2019.

Indeed their last 20 matches (all competitions) have seen Man City win all of the other 19 games.

Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo via Twitter:

“Watford, Wolves and Brighton in the FA Cup semis.

“Rafa Benitez has done an awful lot right during his time at NUFC but his team selections for FA Cup matches have repeatedly left a lot to be desired.”


“Watford changed their full 11.

“We didn’t have the luxury of safety and a better all round squad so made some changes and still got beat.

“ me off that our manager is in a position where he can’t risk certain players getting injured but look at our owner for that situation.”

Jonathan Grieve:

“Yes it hurts we’re not one of the last 4 in world’s most prestigious club competition but so what?

“Honestly that’s life and a throwback to what’s been club policy for years. This is not on him.”

Tom Fitzgerald:

“Javi Gracia changed his whole team for the 4th round game against Newcastle.

“Spot the difference – Watford’s squad isn’t paper thin.”

Sam Zala:

“Ironically if we’d have thrown that City match in favour of winning the Watford game then we’d still be in a fairly comfortable position.”

Jonathan Grieve:

“Or… It’d have dented our confidence even further and sent us on a much worse run.

“You can’t underestimate how important that win Vs City was.”

Paul White:


“The cup games were at a time when losing Rondon or another key player could have finished us.”


“Weird stance to take considering we’re an injury away from Joselu being our main striker.”


“And the selection of Joselu, which gave Rondon a rest days ahead of a game against City, contributed to 3 points that will help us stay up.”

George Langlands:

“Surely the first priority is to stay in the premier league.

“So with limited resources risking player injuries in cup games not a good idea.”

Martin Hurst:

“It’s also taken to get to the quarter finals before Chris Hughton played his full strength team.”


“Yes ignore the owner who gives him a paper thin squad and criticise the manager….”

Dave Richards:

“Give over lad and shake your head.”


“Don’t think bein sports are recruiting just now.”


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