Miles Starforth’s match analysis: Huddersfield Town 1 Newcastle United 0

Huddersfield Town players celebrate after the final whsitle.
Huddersfield Town players celebrate after the final whsitle.

Huddersfield Town have already made themselves at home in the Premier League.

But what about Newcastle United?

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner (left) and Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner (left) and Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez were beaten 1-0 by Huddersfield yesterday.

And they are not sitting so comfortably.

Aaron Mooy’s second-half goal left Newcastle are pointless are two games – just like last season in the Championship.

Benitez didn’t panic then. And he’s not about to panic now.

“If you are calm and you keep working, then I’m sure in the end we will be stronger and stronger,” said United’s manager ahead of the club’s visit to the John Smith’s Stadium.

“What I’m saying is that we can compete with any team at the end of the season if we do what we have to do, because, tactically, we will be stronger, we will have more confidence, we will know each other much better, so all these things.”

Time will tell, but Newcastle have had an uncomfortable start to the season.

They will get stronger, but how much stronger? And will they be strong enough?

Huddersfield have come a long way in a short space of time.

A lot has changed at the John Smith’s Stadium – on and off the pitch – since the club’s last visit in May.

That was a memorable night for United. Coming four days after a hugely-significant win over Brighton and Hove Albion, it had a significance all of its own.

Newcastle had been their two main Championship rivals away from home in the space of a few days. That was then. This is now.

Huddersfield have had to bring their team and ground up to Premier League standard since winning the play-offs.

There were Premier League signs everywhere. The poky press facilities that used to cater for a handful of journalists were gone. In their place, a spacious new lounge.

And there were clappers. Thousands of them.

It was a big moment for town and the club, which had last played in the English top flight in 1972.

But what about Newcastle? Does Benitez have a Premier League team?

United’s starting XI wasn’t too dissimilar to that which faced David Wagner’s side a few months earlier.

And, worryingly, Benitez, without injured trio DeAndre Yedlin, Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett, didn’t name a defender on his bench.

Newcastle, wearing their all-black change kit, found themselves under pressure in the opening minutes.

The home side moved the ball well, and Tom Ince was a threat inside and outside United’s box.

Newcastle, however, didn’t always need to dominate possession in the Championship, especially away from home, and Matt Ritchie forced a fine save from Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal with a curled effort in the 17th minute.

United attempted to take more care of the ball.

Mikel Merino, making his first Premier League start, tried to keep it simple in the middle of the park.

And an agitated Benitez, stood on the very edge of his technical area, gesticulated instruction after instruction to his players.

Referee Craig Pawson waved away a penalty appeal after Dwight Gayle, played in by Christian Atsu, went down in the box under a well-timed 35th-minute challenge from Christopher Schindler.

Pawson had earlier failed to penalise a challenge from Elias Kachunga which left Chancel Mbemba with a cut face.

Newcastle retreated before the break, and Benitez will have been happy to get his players into the dressing room with the score still goalless.

But it didn’t stay that way for long.

Mooy played a one-two on the edge of the before beating Rob Elliot with a fine right-footed strike.

He had been given far too much space. Manquillo couldn’t get to him in time to stop his shot.

Benitez quickly replaced Gayle with Joselu, signed from Stoke City last week.

The striker forced a save from Lossl with a weak shot and was also booked for a challenge on the goalkeeper.

Mohamed Diame and Jacob Murphy followed Joselu on to the pitch.

United rallied late in the game, but Benitez’s side looks short of match-winners.

And that’s a big, big concern.