On Saturday evening, Newcastle succumbed to Manchester United losing 4-1 in the process. Rafa Benitez will have plenty to ponder as he tries to end the losing streak which the team is now on. These are the four things the Spaniard should take from the defeat to the Red Devils.
Four things Rafa Benitez learnt from the Toon’s humbling at Old Trafford
Javier Manquillo is not a left-back
When Newcastle signed Manquillo in the summer there was a few raised eyebrows on Tyneside as the player had poor spells at Liverpool and rivals Sunderland. However, he has been steady so far this year but his performance at Old Trafford on Saturday was unacceptable. Constantly being caught out of position and unable to stop crosses he was a liability for the Toon Army. I do feel he is playing in an unnatural position at left back as he clearly prefers to be on the right-hand side. With Paul Dummett and Jesus Gamez breathing down his neck, Manquillo may soon be displaced from the starting line-up.
Newcastle still need a new keeper
Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow are both solid and reliable keepers in the Premier League. If Newcastle is to progress, however, they need a top-notch keeper who can keep them in the game. Elliot has been solid this year, but he was found wanting on the second goal against Manchester United. His kicking has also been suspect this. He also has issues with injuries. It makes one think that Newcastle need to sign a keeper who will keep them in tight games and also who has a presence in coming out. Benitez has been quite open that he feels he needs a new keeper. They have been linked with Dutch international Jasper Cillesen.
Jacob Murphy is better as a starter
Before Saturday, Jacob Murphy’s substitute appearances had been woeful and error-strewn. Many feel that perhaps he is not an impact substitute and were disappointed when he replaced the injured Christian Atsu. On Saturday, he finally showed a glimpse of why Newcastle paid £12 million for him in the summer and that perhaps he should be starting. His ability to run with the ball and willingness to shoot was a positive in a difficult game. Still perhaps lacking an end product, he showed Newcastle fans that he can mix it at the top level. The ex-Norwich man just needs time and patience so that he can adapt to the Premier League.
Dwight Gayle will always pose more threat than Joselu
Dwight Gayle scored his first goal of the season at Old Trafford. Over his last two performances for Newcastle, he showed that he can play in the Premier League. His goal was a finish from a poacher. He hopes to carry it on against Watford. Joselu, meanwhile, was anonymous throughout and did not even provide a physical presence or foil for Gayle to play alongside. Many Geordies have already written him off and feel they can add him to the list of previous Spanish transfer flops of Luque and Xisco.
Main Photo: NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Newcastle United Manager / Head Coach Rafael Benitez reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James’ Park on October 1, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)