Gap weeks for Toon
Oh, what to do when your team has no matches for a couple of weeks? That was the dilemma for Newcastle fans as we faced two whole weeks without a fixture after our great result against Southampton over a week ago. As any like-minded football fan will understand, this is as close to hell on earth as you could imagine, other than losing an important derby match or getting relegated, which are two things we have suffered in recent years too.
Luckily, Rafa had a plan to solve the issue, for the players at least anyway. They went to Spain for a warm weather training camp, avoiding the ‘beast from the east’ 2.0 we have been suffering from over the past week. While this didn’t make the boredom any less for the fans, they did play a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly. The doors were obviously open to someone, as news came out that we drew 1-1 with some team I’ve never heard of in a 135-minute game. At least we didn’t lose, but to only score, one goal in 135 minutes clearly shows what we are lacking, and probably didn’t tell Rafa anything he didn’t already know. Just the international break to go this week before we FINALLY play again next week.
The moaning one
Jose Mourinho found another few things to moan about this week, surprise, surprise. After Man Utd crashed out of the Champions League against Sevilla, who are 5th in La Liga, many fans were beginning to call for a change of approach from the special one, who in their opinion refuses to attack in pretty much every opportunity. A few days later, Mourinho spent 15 minutes in a press conference defending his record at Man Utd and explaining why they don’t have the squad or the ‘heritage’ to compete at the later stages of the Champions League yet. After they beat Brighton in the FA Cup a few days later, Mourinho again went on the offensive, this time against his players, most of which he deemed not to have the ‘class, desire and personality’ to be Man Utd players. Apart from Nemanja Matic of course, who is ‘an island of personality’, according to Mourinho.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a Mourinho fan. While Man Utd were extremely disappointing in the Sevilla game and deserved to be dumped out, they had just beaten Liverpool in the league, cementing their 2nd place position in the league. Mourinho made some good points in his defence and they are in a much better position now than they were before he took over, so fans there should be more appreciative of what he has done with the players he has available. While he has spent a large amount of money, it is nowhere near what Man City have spent since Guardiola took over there, so fans should be patient and allow Mourinho to build his own team, then make their judgements after that. If they want to swap him for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, I’d gladly shake their hands on that.