Jonjo Shelvey has taken a swipe at the ‘sofa experts’ criticising Benitez’s second half tactics on Saturday, stating that it’s a ‘totally different story’ when you are out there protecting a lead up against all the quality players in Man Utd’s side.
Despite the superb first half display and much improved performance, several NUFC fans took to social media to rant about Rafa’s approach in the second half, claiming that certain substitutions and poor tactics cost us a result.
For me, we ran out of steam and our best just wasn’t good enough in the end. It’s a tough one to take and a horrible way to lose (especially in our current position), but there were so many positives to take.
Speaking to NUFC TV, a distraught Shelvey hit back at those slating our late collapse, saying that you will ‘always’ try to protect a lead at 0-2 up away from and insisting that it’s too easy for fans to judge when they out there on the pitch themselves:
“When you are 2-0 up away from home you always try to protect a lead.
“People will be sitting on their sofas back home but they aren’t the ones playing on the football pitch.
“It’s a totally different story when you are out there and up against the quality of opposition like that.”
It’s honest stuff from Shelvey and I totally agree with him. I don’t know what else Rafa was meant to do. Kenedy and Muto were injured and Rafa brought on fairly like for like replacements. Yes they were downgrades in Murphy and Atsu, but this is what happens when our squad isn’t strong enough.
If Rafa had brought on a centre-back for Kenedy and Hayden for Muto then he’d have been criticised all the same – so I’m not sure he can win here. When they brought on Sanchez (a player worth as much as our whole team), we brought on Atsu. That sums it up.
Shelvey then insisted that we must take the positives from the game after an ‘unacceptable’ performance against Leicester the week prior – stating that the next 10 games are ‘really important’, with us having a very generous run between now and Christmas:
“We have to take the positives because it wasn’t acceptable against Leicester – but at Man United we played them of the park and should have been three or four up.
“The dressing room isn’t a nice place to be.
“But we can’t keep putting it off until next week or the week after.
“We have to realise the situation that we are in.
“The next 10 games are really important and we really have to put our foot on the pedal and work hard on the training pitch.
“That’s the only way we will get out of it, by sticking together and keeping the unity going.”
🗣 "The only way we're going to get out of this is by sticking together."
Jonjo Shelvey spoke to NUFC TV at the weekend, and admitted the next ten games will be "massive" for the Magpies.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 8, 2018