Rafa Benitez says opportunities for others as Newcastle United pick up 3 injuries v Southampton
Rafa Benitez was a very happy man at full-time on Saturday night.
The manager and his players reacting in the very best way to Anthony Taylor’s shocking decision not to send James Ward-Prowse off after he cynically brought Miguel Almiron down as Newcastle broke and were two on one until the Saints’ last man intervention.
Instead of being a negative to drag everybody down, instead the decision simply roused both crowd and players.
Within minutes Newcastle had scored twice and the game was effectively won.
The game ended with NUFC picking up three injuries but now on 41 points it is job done and Rafa Benitez can take a more relaxed approach with these latest setbacks.
The manager says simply, that this will allow opportunities for others in the final three matches.
Rafa confirmed it is all but certain Miguel Almiron won’t be seen again this season, picking up a hamstring injury.
Whilst Fabian Schar is another who may well sit out next Saturday at Brighton certainly, pus possibly the other two matches. Rafa revealed that Schar had said he had an (unspecified) injury on Friday but had still played him. However, with the Swiss international having to come off against Southampton, it is very likely Rafa will be looking after one of his surprise star assets in the remaining few weeks.
The same for Isaac Hayden, he has had an ongoing hip problem and it looked as though once again that was responsible for his substitution yesterday, after yet another excellent display.
Rafa Benitez may have given others a chance anyway once safety was guaranteed but certainly you could see now the sense in putting players such as Jonjo Shelvey in the shop window by playing him. If Rafa stays, the midfielder is one of a number of players who look to have no future at St James Park.
“He (Miguel Almiron) was working very hard and it is not easy for a player who was doing well in another country, at a massive club in front of 52,000 fans, to then get injured and maybe have to be out for the rest of the season.
“It is his first injury of this type.
“He was doing well and the fans love him.
“It is a hamstring injury but we will have to see how he is.
“We will have to speak with the doctor and see how he reacts.”
“Schar was complaining (about an injury issue) on Friday and we saw him in the first half.
“We weren’t very keen to do any substitutions at the start of the second half because we knew we had one or two little problems. In the end, it was like that.
“It is bad for them (Isaac Hayden also forced off with an injury), but we have other players, and maybe they will get a chance to do their best now.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Southampton 1
Perez 27, 31, 86
Possession was Southampton 57% Newcastle 43%
Total shots were Southampton 15 Newcastle 14
Shots on target were Southampton 3 Newcastle 6
Corners were Southampton 11 Newcastle 4
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar (Fernandez 69), Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden (Diame 78), Ki, Almiron (Atsu 64), Perez, Rondon
Darlow, Shelvey, Muto, Yedlin
Crowd: 52,191 (1,700 Southampton)
(Blinding honesty from Ralph Hasenhuttl after the 3-1 defeat – HERE)
(Rafa tells Mike Ashley after win over Southampton that Newcastle have to start and compete on transfers and wages – HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to beating Southampton HERE)
(Alan Shearer reacts to Newcastle 3 Southampton 1 HERE)
(Date and time finally confirmed for Newcastle v Liverpool on Saturday night – Details HERE)
(NUFC match ratings and comments – HERE)
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