Rafa’s Newcastle flubs massive opportunity: “We couldn’t do it”

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Newcastle went from Premier League safety to drop zone destiny in the span of a half hour.

The Magpies now sit 18th and need a lot of help from Sunderland and Norwich City at midweek and on Sunday to stay in England’s top flight.

Oh, and they have to beat Spurs as well.

[ RECAPS: Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea | Villa 0-0 NUFC ]

Sunderland came back from a pair of deficits against Chelsea to win 3-2 on Saturday, while Newcastle failed to score against a Villa side that has allowed a ghastly 72 goals this season.

Magpies manager Rafa Benitez wasn’t in a good place after the win, but also ill prepared to concede his PL status.

From the BBC:

“We were a little bit anxious in the first half. We were not comfortable in possession. You have to take your chances and we didn’t do that.

“We had to change things in the second half. We did that, but it was not enough. The players are disappointed.

“It was an opportunity to stay ahead of Sunderland and we couldn’t do it.”

Newcastle was relegated by Villa a 1-0 loss in 2009, but that was a far better Villa side than the relegated side that held them 0-0 on Saturday.

So much for momentum. Now Newcastle watches the scoreboard Wednesday and hopes to have something to play for on the final day of the season.