Well, what was he supposed to do?
Anybody watching last night’s match at St. James’ Park will agree that there could have been more, as Manchester City defeated Newcastle United 1-0. Magpies boss Rafa Benitez deployed an extremely conservative approach that did not bring a result, but offered the team their best chance against the Premier League leaders.
Newcastle looked to keep numbers behind the ball, and focused on finding the right time for counter-attacks at the other end. City’s quality is tremendous, evidenced by their surreal winning streak in the English top flight that has now reached 18 consecutive games.
What should the Toon have done? Press high up the pitch and push midfielders into the attack? Tactics like that would have resulted in a much more embarrassing loss at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side.
City have put the opposition to the sword on several occasions this season, and Newcastle could easily have been one of them.
Even with the loss, it is important to keep the big picture in perspective when it comes to this particular fixture.
Future results and their final place in the table
Already with a negative goal-differential for the 2017-18 campaign, Newcastle do not want to be on the wrong end of a City thrashing right now.
With a relegation battle in front of them with others at the bottom of the table, those numbers could be absolutely vital.
They can be looked at as negative, but I believe “realistic” would be the better way to describe Benitez’s choices. Maximum points could be on the cards against Brighton and at Stoke on New Year’s Day, so Wednesday’s match may be a distant memory by next week.
Newcastle United lost another game at home versus Manchester City. However, Rafa Benitez’s formation and tactics were the correct options.