Jamie Redknapp says Newcastle have been a ‘joy to watch’ recently, praising the ‘silky’ and ‘clever’ Ayoze Perez – however he’s questioned why Rafa Benitez set up so ‘negatively’ earlier in the season now we’re now attacking teams at home.
Newcastle certainly look like a different team in 2019 – far more adventurous, easy on the eye and attack minded; whilst maintaining a solid defence. Five home wins on the spin is some achievement, especially considering the trouble we were in before this run.
Here’s what he’s had to say during during a piece for the Daily Mail today:
“Newcastle showed incredible character to battle back to beat Everton. They have been a joy to watch recently and in Ayoze Perez have a silky, clever forward who holds the ball up well.
“They have won their last five games at St James’ — which makes it even more frustrating that they set up so negatively against Chelsea there earlier in the season. On their day, they can take the fight to anyone.”
It is important though to flag that it wasn’t as easy as Redknapp suggests to be more attacking earlier in the season. There are a few key factors behind our new style of play, especially if you use the Chelsea game as an example.
The key one is personnel – when we played Chelsea Rondon wasn’t fit and of course we didn’t have Almiron. Almiron stretches teams, which gives more space for the likes of Perez and Rodnon to capatilise on. Almiron/Rondon is far superior to Joselu/Atsu which we had to field previously. If you don’t carry a threat, the next best thing is to be hard to beat and against the top six, target a point.
Another is confidence – attacking football is easier when you are winning games, scoring goals and on a run. Earlier in the season we literally couldn’t see where point would come from – in that mindset the only option was to be cautious and to try and grind things out. Confidence was fragile, the last thing we needed was a beating.
The main thing though is the here and now and it is right to congratulate Benitez on the turnaround – we have would been delighted with 34 points from 30 games if we had been offered that back in October.
What do you put our turnaround down to?