HERE we sit on zero points and zero goals after two games.
An ‘unfortunate’ performance against Spurs followed by a truly dismal display against fellow Premier League newcomers Huddersfield leaves us propping up the table at this early stage.
Add that to the on-going negativity and uncertainty around the club in the background and the ominous black clouds are well and truly swirling above Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez has told the fans to “be patient” and “stick with us when it’s not going right”.
He talks constantly of the attitude and mindset of players being more important than formation and strategy.
Why? Because he knows. He knows he has a side currently that is severely lacking in quality to compete in this division.
He also knows that the chances of it getting any better are few and far between.
After Huddersfield, he said: “We will see what happens, it’s still 11 days, but I don’t see an easy window yet.”
And these words just a week after the sad indictment from Mike Ashley.
Live on national television, the Toon owner informed the world that he wouldn’t be putting any more money into Newcastle and that if anybody wanted to take the club off his hands, he’d be very happy to oblige.
All of Ashley’s wealth is apparently tied up in wallpaper – or some pathetic analogy to that effect.
It was ironic that he mentioned the sum of £200million, as this wasn’t the case in 2015 when he parted with that amount for some luxury development in Chelsea; but that’s another story.
What is clear, is that Rafa is working, like every other manger under Mike Ashley, on a shoe-string
A one that is completely different it would appear to the one he was promised by Ashley at the back end of last season.
Winger Matt Ritchie commented this week that one of Benitez’s biggest strengths is that “he
It is clear though that his patience is being well and truly tested with the moving of the goalposts by Ashley and the obvious naivety of NUFC in the transfer market.
The most worrying thing for Newcastle now, is that the negativity surrounding the club is beginning to make its way onto the pitch.
Against Spurs, the Magpies more than held their own for a half of football that saw little attacking
quality from both sides.
It wasn’t until an idiotic decision from stand-in captain Jonjo Shelvey that last year’s Premier League runners-up took a hold on the game and punished the ten men in black and white shirts.
At the John Smith’s Stadium however, it was different. Without their most creative player (Shelvey), Newcastle lacked any sort of attacking punch.
Unfortunately, the concerns were deeper than that.
The Toon men were nervy, constantly gifting possession back to Huddersfield and devoid of any
quality ahead of a patched-up, but relatively sturdy back line.
It was a dreadful display over the 90 minutes against a team that lacked a lot of quality themselves
but found magic through their No10 – arguably the best player on the pitch – to decide the game in the end.
Newcastle demonstrated immaturity in midfield and attack, disorganisation and a severe lack of
Premier League ability.
It is imperative that they do all they can to secure the signing of a creative midfielder or a No10 (or both!) before the end of this summer’s window.
The Magpies need a player with tenacity, vision and intelligence who will help them unlock defences and provide service to the frontmen.
Mikel Merino will need more time to mature in this league, Mo Diame is laughable in his approach
and execution at times and Ayoze Perez is simply not up to the task after countless opportunities
Dennis Praet is the player currently linked. But with just one goal and assist in 32 Serie A games last season, is he really the man to turn Newcastle’s fortunes around?
The other worry is that the club are still working tirelessly to move on the dead wood.
Massadio Haidara, Achraf Lazaar, Grant Hanley, Jack Colback and Emmanuel Riviere are among a host of names who have been told to find new clubs.
As it stands, there are no suitors, which tells you a lot about the previous business completed at the club in terms of player recruitment.
Benitez was a withdrawn figure post match on Sunday. The question has to be asked – how long can or will he put up with discontent?
The experienced Spaniard is not known for walking away from clubs but he is a man of integrity and pride; who could blame him, if he did?
Is it time for Newcastle fans to panic? No.
The main man himself has said: “We will need time, but I am sure we can improve.”
Whether that is with or without any more additions to the squad remains to be seen.
But the longer the adversity continues; the more the panic will inevitably set in.
Losing the best manager Newcastle have had for well over a decade is already becoming a real fear for fans and unfortunately a real possibility unless significant changes and/or improvements emerge.
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