After some supporters criticised our negative approach to Saturday’s game with Liverpool, Rafa Benitez has called for calm and vowed to ‘attack’ Southampton in a bid to earn 3 points in our upcoming six-pointer at St James’ Park.
Saturday’s performance was a funny one. We contained Liverpool for the vast majority of the game, but several fans took issue with our lack of attacking threat, feeling as though we never looked like scoring and didn’t ‘have a go’ at them despite having little to lose at 2-0 down.
Rafa will see it differently, knowing that a hammering could’ve crippled our goal difference, however the Spaniard has admitted that Southampton at home will be a totally different game, stating his intentions to ‘create chances’ and attack our relegation rivals on Saturday:
“Obviously Southampton will be different (to the Liverpool game). We play at home with our fans behind us. We have to attack and we have to create chances.
“Obviously every game is important to us but these types of games against the teams close to us we have to do well in.”
“Every game is important so if you win now everyone says: ‘Fantastic.’ And then we have more confidence. Maybe you can approach the next games with more confidence and you win more,”
“But if you can’t win you can still win at the end. You can win the last game and be safe. Every game is an opportunity and nothing else.
“You cannot think about that [the three-week gap]. We have the Tottenham game postponed so it’s one less game.
“We have to go against Southampton, take three points and if not stay calm and carry on until the end.”
Rafa’s calmness is also key in all of this. Saturday may be a huge game and to some it may feel like a must win game if we’re to avoid an unbearably edgy end to the season, however Benitez clearly recognises that each of our games between now and the end of the season is simply an ‘opportunity’ for 3 points.
He’ll realise how important this one is, with a win putting us 4 points clear of Pellegrino’s side (and a defeat putting us 2 points behind), but Benitez’s call for calm is timely.
His experience will play a huge part in what we can achieve between now and the end of the season. Let’s take his advice and hope that the players deliver the goods as a result. In Rafa we trust.