We weren’t at the races in the first half
Newcastle moved above Burnley in the Premier League last night after beating us 2-0 at St. James’ Park, but manager Rafa Benitez is still aware that they are in a relegation battle.
After the game, he said: “Obviously winning games, you have more confidence and then the pressure is different, but still we have to have the same idea, one game at a time, the next game is the most important.
“We decided to keep him in the team because he’s working hard, he’s playing well, his understanding with Hayden now is quite good, so there are a lot of positives when you have a young lad, a local lad playing and scoring goals, obviously.”
It wasn’t a good night for Sean Dyche who saw his Burnley team lose a Premier League game for the first time since Boxing Day and he was clear that we didn’t deserve anything from the game. “It’s a strange one to analyse,” he said. “We certainly weren’t at the races in the first half and you can’t help but think back to Saturday’s result and all the euphoria that goes with beating one of the big six.
“If we’d had a free week, all that furore might have calmed down, but when you hit the big teams as we did on Saturday with a terrific performance and you have to go and do it all again a few days later… well, that’s what it looked like.
“At half time we reminded them of that, and in the second half I thought there was a response. We were a little more like our old selves. The energy came back and without being amazing we huffed and puffed and created one or two things. At least it looked a bit more like us.”
He was forced into a first team change since mid-January too in the league with Ashley Westwood missing from the team. He explained: “Losing Westy this afternoon, after he’s been excellent, was a blow, but thankfully he rooms alone, so hopefully we have contained that. That was a factor, and also it was probably a game too far for Dwight. Don’t get me wrong, he might be ready again for Saturday, but it was a big ask for him and he couldn’t quite find that energy tonight.
“And collectively, we just couldn’t find that edge to our game that we play with tonight. Having said that, they’ve scored a worldy and Tom hasn’t had too much else to do. We responded with two really good chances in the first half and if one goes in, you never know. But it’s hard to be too critical because the players have been outstanding in many appearances lately.
“I thought Charlie Taylor was good again tonight and it’s good to have Robbie and Johann back and getting some minutes, because that’s going to be important going forward. So, underlying, there were some good things, but tonight was a reminder that if you are not on top of your performance, you don’t get anything.”
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