There has been a lot of debate this week on the ‘negative tactics’ of United boss Rafa Benitez in our recent defeat to Chelsea – especially when a similar approach may be adopted ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester City.
There have been the usual suspects in the media using it as a chance to stick the boot in as always, but the Spaniard has an unlikely ally in the form of Toon flop Michael Owen.
The former England striker made a very valid and interesting point whilst predicting our next game against Manchester City…
“Newcastle. United were roundly criticised for their ultra-cautious approach at home to Chelsea on Sunday, but they did only lose out to a contentious penalty and a late own goal.
“Would we be having the same debate if United had nicked a point against a very good Chelsea side? Very small margins.”
Owen doesn’t fancy our chances tomorrow and is tipping it to be 3-0 to City with Aguero to score, but he’s one of few who’ve come out and defended Rafa’s approach. And he’s not wrong..
Rafa set up for a draw and was three minutes away from getting just that, as Owen says. We were all disappointed to lose the game and setting up so defensively means you run the risk of criticism if the plan doesn’t come off, but it nearly worked.
Owen was a terrible investment for Newcastle but remains our record transfer; a constant reminder of why we are even having this tactic debate in the first place – the lack of funding Ashley is putting forward to improve the playing squad.
If we had this, I am sure we could set up on the front foot but until then, let’s stick with a proven and world class manager, who has to constantly fight every step of the way against an owner who is running NUFC into the ground.