Rafa Benitez has revealed what he told his Newcastle United players after Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Cardiff, reminding them that we must fight in every game and not allow our standard drop from last season – admitting that we made mistakes from the ‘first minute’.
To say the game was an uninspiring one is an understatement and although we managed to come away with a point with 10 men, it’s a game where we really should’ve been looking to take all three based on the quality of the opposition.
If we’re being honest, our ability to see it out and earn a point was more down to Cardiff’s inability to show quality in the final third than anything else. We were there for the taking on Saturday and any decent side would’ve quite easily brushed us aside.
Fortunately, we’ve come away with a point (even though we could’ve won it at the death somehow), however Rafa realises that this level of performance MUST improve – especially when other sides have strengthened:
“I told the players that we have to fight in every game, and fight until the end of the season,”
“It is a simple message, but it is also a very clear one. For us, these kind of games that are physical, when from the first minute we were making mistakes – and then we improved – it is only going to difficult.
“When we went down to 10 men, it was even tougher and we had to show even more fight. We have to work really hard and try to use the quality we have to make the difference in these types of games if we can.
“I don’t think the players lost control. I just think this was a game at the beginning of the season, which is always more difficult. Especially when you have done well last season, you – as players – need to realise that everyone is stronger.
“Other teams have spent a lot of money on players so it’s a new competition and we have to reach the same standards, if not higher, again.”
Benitez then looked ahead to our upcoming games with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal, insisting that we have the belief and confidence that we can get results after getting results against several top six sides at home last season:
“We know that every game is different and the next games are against top sides,”
“We have to have a different approach to those games, and hopefully we can manage in the way that we managed some of these games last year.
“But every game, and every season, is different. We have the belief and confidence that, if we work very, very hard, we can get results.”
Tough games to come, but hopefully we can up our game as we did last season.
We’ll need to!