Rafa Benitez makes startling admission about his Newcastle team

Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin battles with Ipswich Town's Freddie Sears.
Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin battles with Ipswich Town's Freddie Sears.
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Rafa Benitez told of his “concern” after Newcastle United suffered an embarrassing defeat – just three days after putting in a stirring performance at St James’s Park.

Benitez’s side were beaten 3-1 by Ipswich Town at Portman Road yesterday.

It is still in our hands – it still all depends on us. We have to win the first game first though, then after that we can start thinking about the other two.

Rafa Benitez

Fortunately for second-placed Newcastle, Huddersfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Derby County.

United now lead third-placed Reading by six points with three games left to play.

Fourth-placed Huddersfield, with a game in hand, are seven points behind United.

Newcastle – who had been denied a win over Leeds United on Good Friday by an injury-time equaliser – were deservedly beaten at Portman Road, where they were punished for a series of mistakes.

“I am concerned about the change of the team in terms of the performance against Leeds and then our performance (against Ipswich),” said Benitez.

“That is the only thing I am thinking about.

“We know that we have to win games to do our job, so we will have to change and improve a lot.

“We knew it could be this kind of game. I thought that we were ready, but it seems that we were not.

“We were not focused and mentally ready.

“When we were reacting, we scored the goal, and it seemed that we had more control of the game, but then we made another mistake.

“We are making some mistakes, and we are paying for that.

“To be fair, in both of the last two away games, we have been punished for our mistakes. That is it.

“They are mistakes that we were not normally making. When we played at home (against Leeds), we had so many chance to win, but then we made another mistake and conceded. We have to learn from that.

“It is still in our hands – it still all depends on us.

“We have to win the first game first though, then after that we can start thinking about the other two.”