Rafa Benitez admits his Newcastle players lost their heads at Hillsborough

Rafa Benitez on the touchline at Hillsborough
Rafa Benitez on the touchline at Hillsborough
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Rafa Benitez says his Newcastle United players lost their heads at Hillsborough – and played with their hearts and NOT their minds.

Benitez’s side are second in the Championship are losing 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Saturday.

Newcastle remain 10 points ahead of third-placed Huddersfield Town with five games left to play.

Benitez was unhappy with the mistakes his team made all over the pitch at Hillsborough.

Tom Lees and Steven Fletcher netted second-half goals for Wednesday.

Jonjo Shelvey netted two minutes from time after substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic inspired a late rally.

Asked about Mitrovic’s impact, United manager Benitez said: “Yes, he did (make an impact), but I didn’t like the way that we played because it was without control.

“We were playing with our hearts and not our brains, and, when you do that, you don’t know what can happen.”

Shelvey – who struck the crossbar with a shot from the halfway line late in the first half – was the pick for Newcastle on a disappointing evening.

“He’s the player that shoots from outside the box, to try and create some chances,” said Benitez.

“But I’m not very happy with how the players managed the game.

“We have to have some more experience and then manage it in a different way.

“You cannot waste time when you need time, when you need to play quick you can play quick, when you need to calm down you can calm down.

“I think that we didn’t do well.”

Benitez will hold a debrief with his players before he starts preparations for the Good Friday home game against Leeds United.

“You must analyse the two or three things that you can improve,” he said.

“You can do nothing about the things you cannot improve, but what you can improve you must, and as soon as possible.

“As soon as possible will be the training session on Monday.

“We must prepare in the training sessions to do good things and make sure we do these things in the games too.”