Following yesterday’s dismal 3-1 defeat to Ipswich, Rafa Benitez has came out with some home truths for his Newcastle United side, questioning the players performance and mental readiness.
In an interview with Sky Sports, here’s what the Magpies boss had to say:
“I am concerned about the change in my team’s performance from Leeds on Friday to the performance today.
“We know we have to win our games and now we have to change and improve.
“We knew it was going to be this kind of game but we were not ready – it seems we were not mentally ready.
Rafa raises some valid points here, but worrying ones none the less.
With regards to the difference in performance levels between Leeds on Friday and Ipswich just 3 days later, he says what we were all thinking. Given the stakes, how can a team play with such intent, enthusiasm and desire on Friday, yet go to pieces just days later, in a game of equal importance?
Benitez alludes to the fact that ‘we knew’ it was going to be a tough game, yet suggests that we did not cope mentally. With this in mind, it’s fortunate we still have a generous lead over our promotion rivals, with this fragility not boding well given their is still work to be done and lots still to play for in our Premier League pursuit.
Rafa continued, ending on a suitable note, taking yesterday’s defeat on the chin and vowing to improve:
“We made mistakes and we got paid for it. We have to all take responsibility, we win together and we lose together.
“I won’t blame my players in press conferences. They know what I told them at half-time and at the end, we know something was wrong and now we have to analyse and change quickly.”
Both Rafa and his players have a big job to do in the coming weeks, with a responsibility that cannot be understated given the ramifications should we fail to gain promotion this season.
Here’s hoping we can nip this worrying blip in the bud and finally secure promotion back to the Premier League as soon as possible.