Date: Saturday 22nd December 2018, 3.00pm
Venue: St. James' Park
0 - 0
Half time: Magpies 0 Cottagers 0
Full time: Magpies 0
"During the game I was not happy
with some situations and decisions. The worst thing is that, in a game we
could win, where we were pushing and had control, we could have lost it in the
"Sometimes it can be tense at home,
when they say you have to win the game, but Fulham spent a lot of money in the
summer (partly on a striker that he didn't rate!).
"They are bottom but have a good team. They are organised, they had
five at the back and were dangerous on the counter-attack. It's good that we didn't lose but
the negative is that we gave Fulham those situations to score and were a bit
lucky in the end.
"It was not easy to break them down. Overall, I think we
deserved to win because we were in control. We will analyse what we do, and we have to improve if we want to break down
these teams and win this kind of game.
"Itís a pity because people were expecting us to win this game but I was
more concerned about the mistake we made at the end. The only positive thing
is we didnít lose, with the way the last five minutes were. And, also, we
got four points in the last two games.
"My focus now is trying to find the right team to play
Liverpool and try to get three points.
"We have to be realistic and understand we will be in the bottom
half for the whole season and, if we can be better than three teams, it will
be another miracle.
"It would be a miracle to stay up, yes. A game like that is
confirmation of what I know. Even if we strengthen in January it will be a
miracle if we stay up.
"I like the challenge and we will try to do our best. When you lose
or cannot win, you cannot enjoy it, but I know it is my job and I have to be
sure I make the right decisions all the time."
"At this moment for us, it's important to
get a point, it's important to have a clean sheet because in the last matches,
we have played well and from their first chance, the opponent has scored a goal.
They made a lot of crosses - 30 - and they shot at goal, but our keeper never
had to save anything.
"For the players, don't think, it's important, play, then play, then play, then
clean up the mind.
"For Fulham, bottom of the table, every match is crucial. Every match could be
good to survive or not survive. But we'll fight until the end.
"I need a clean sheet. I need a clean sheet, like I need bread, like I need
"We need to make a point in two or three matches in a row. It's important to
take confidence, because now the players are a little nervous and it's normal."
Newcastle recorded a fourth 0-0 draw of the season in their 17th game.
Their Premier League record is six, which was set in the 1994/95 campaign,
which was played
over 42 games.
Cottagers in Toon - last 10:
2018/19 drew 0-0
2016/17 lost 1-3 Murphy2013/14 won 1-0 Ben Arfa
2012/13 won 1-0 Cisse
2011/12 won 2-1 Best 2
2010/11 drew 0-0
2008/09 lost 0-1
2007/08 won 2-0 Viduka, Owen
2006/07 lost 1-2 Parker
2005/06 drew 1-1 N'Zogbia
This was the sixth time that boss Claudio Ranieri has occupied the away
dugout at SJP, Fulham becoming the fourth different club he's overseen on
2018/19 Newcastle 0 Fulham 0 (PL)
2015/16 Newcastle 0 Leicester City
3 (PL)2007/08 Newcastle 2 Juventus 0 (Fr)
2003/04 Newcastle 2 Chelsea 1 (PL)
2002/03 Newcastle 2 Chelsea 1 (PL)
2001/02 Newcastle 1 Chelsea 2 (PL)
After ten home games, United have just seven points from a possible 30,
winning two, drawing one and losing seven, scoring only seven goals and
Spurs lost 1-2 (0-0)
Chelsea lost 1-2 (1-2)
Arsenal lost 1-2 (0-0)
Leicester lost 0-2 (0-1)
Brighton lost 0-1 (0-1)
Watford won 1-0 (0-0)
Bournemouth won 2-1 (2-1)
West Ham lost 0-3 (0-1)
Wolves lost 1-2 (1-1)
Fulham drew 0-0 (0-0)
(The half time scores are in brackets, showing we've only been ahead after
45 minutes once)
This is only the fourth time in our history that we've won just two of our
first ten home league games, having also done so in 1957/58, 1988/89 and
2015/16. In all of those previous three seasons though, we drew more than
one game (one in 57/58 and three in 88/89 and 15/16).
We've never lost seven of our first ten home games before, meaning that
2018/19 is officially the worst start to a home league season in our
The most home defeats in a season is 11 (1957/58 and 1977/78). In the PL
it's nine (2012/13)
Rather oddly someone with 500 games under his
belt in this country, the Newcastle manager chose his press call before this
game to reveal a hitherto-unknown enthusiasm for British TV sitcoms.
Rafa's rationale for watching the likes of Fawlty Towers, Dads Army and
Blackadder was to help improve his language skills. For those condemned to
a lifetime of viewing in black and white however, this latest episode was anything
but light entertainment.
Another wooden performance from an undistinguished cast brought no originality
or spontaneity; ham-fisted attempts at improvisation
best forgotten and consistently lacking a punchline.
Were a different director at the helm, the chances of a second series would be
diminishing rapidly but here, viewer loyalty ensures that this lamentable lot
continue to enjoy high viewing figures.
The manager may have had a cunning plan to overcome
basement side Fulham, but his cast were seldom comfortable with their script
and almost fluffed their lines in the final scenes.
Comedy villain Aleksandar Mitrovic
returned and the Serbian striker almost snatched three points a minute
from time, only to be denied by a vital block from
Jamaal Lascelles - replays revealing that he'd led with his arm and was
perhaps lucky not to have conceded a penalty kick for doing so.
That late chance for the visitors came shortly after a moment of madness from
Martin Dubravka, caught with the ball at his feet in his own area, but just
able to evade Mitro and hoof clear.
Despite registering only their second clean sheet in ten home games this
season, Newcastle failed to build on that foundation and allowed Fulham to
achieve their first shutout with comparative ease.
The result dropped United down one place in 15th - five ahead of third-bottom Burnley
and seven away from the Cottagers who have won just twice in their opening
What goalmouth action there was from United was limited to fruitless penalty shouts and
the odd half-chance following a set piece.
A header from Jamaal Lascelles bobbed across the six yard box in the 18th
minute but other than that, a
blocked shot from Matt Ritchie and a couple
of laughable efforts that ended up high in the Gallowgate End were the sum
total of our efforts.
In typical fashion, our deserved slot just before the closing credits on Match
of the Day meant sitting through a cavalcade of shots from other Premier
League sides; most notably the sweetest of first-time strikes from old boy
Andros Townsend in Crystal Palace's victory at Manchester City.
Our spot kick claims consisted of one more than hopeful shout when Rondon made
contact with an opponent and a more valid claim when Kenedy was impeded in
front of goal by Joe
Bryan as a 70th minute
cross came over. Referee Martin Atkinson wasn't interested though, Rafa Benitez
angrily appealing in vain for the latter one, before letting slip a
The absence of extravagantly-priced players from this team surely cannot
justify our collective inability to shoot on target though - or the apparent
reluctance to do so. Totally unprofessional.
Having moulded our approach around launching balls up to Rondon, we failed to
offer any support to him as he tried to maintain possession with a clutch of
defenders round him. The number 9 never had a heading opportunity for
one swiftly-executed cross by Ritchie from the left late in the first half
that the Venezuelan reached but couldn't head goalwards. Are you being served?
I think not.
A miserable record of just seven points from a possible 30 at St. James' Park
this season points to ongoing and significant problems that are literally
close to home.
We simply cannot play here; there is nobody willing or able to take the
initiative. No guile, no pace.
Our progress remains ponderous, almost
glacial at times. If they made a TV programme about us, it certainly wouldn't
be called the Fast Show.
This side is far more suited to away games, when the onus is on the opposition
make the play, allowing us to react accordingly as submissive partners.
There's no "fear factor" inhibiting players in terms of
negative home crowd reaction either, at least during the game today - although some booing was
evident at full time. Support to the team in the second half was loud and unlike the previous home
game when ironic applause accompanied the departure of Ayoze Perez, the
equally inept Christian Atsu was applauded off here.
This may be another point nearer safety, but was verging on the unwatchable at
times, especially attempts to play the ball around and out of our own area
that became almost comical when
not self-destructive - quite literally, ever decreasing circles.
A failure to ask questions of a porous visiting defence and nervous goalkeeper
meanwhile is verging on the criminal and could yet be a very costly mistake,
ahead of visits to Liverpool, Watford and Chelsea and a home meeting with
Manchester United. It would be a brave man who backed us to collect a single point before the visit of Cardiff City to
a month - never mind a victory.
By the time the Bluebirds appear at Gallowgate, any rational and normal club
would expect to have made additions to their squad. We of course are neither
of those and off-field uncertainty looks like the perfect excuse to ignore
what is staring us in the face.
And given his post-match comments about avoiding relegation counting as a
"miracle", the apparent lack of progress towards a change of
ownership coupled with another futile transfer window may yet result in Rafa
admitting defeat and quoting the Two Ronnies
in saying, "it's goodnight