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INSTANT REACTION: Newcastle United lose to bicycle kick, Leicester

It really could have been worse.... but it also could have been better... so... encouraging?

As the old expression goes, at a certain point of the season, you are where you are in the table for a reason.  Leicester are where they are because they have consistently played well.  We are where we are because we have not.  It will go down as a 1-0 defeat for Newcastle, but the story is that we're right back where we were 7 months ago.  Encouraging performance.  There was a bit of fortune about Leicester's goal – a spectacular bicycle kick from Shinju Okazaki – as Jamie Vardy was offside in the buildup, but you'd be hard-pressed to argue that the result wasn't fair.

Rafa Benitez came in talking about motivating the players and to be fair with only 3 days to prepare that is all we have upon which to base an judgement about the new manager's effectiveness in this match.  For the bulk of the match, effort was not the issue.  Even Moussa Sissoko put in at least 35 good, effort-filled minutes.  On the flip side, the passing was very very sloppy.  The offensive ideas were stagnant at best.  The midfield were not creating for Mitrovic.  Across the board, encouraging moves were destroyed by terrible passes 5 yards behind the intended target.  Terrible shot decisions by defenders 40 yards from goal.  But here is the thing... those things with time to prepare can be cleaned up.

It's now 9 matches left, and losing doesn't help the cause... but heading into Leicester with 3 days of a new manager was always going to be a tough ask.  This match could have easily been written off before kickoff.  As it is, we'll have to take what we can from the way it played out... another "encouraging performance"