Rafa Benitez predicts Norwich’s gameplan against his Newcastle team

Norwich boss Alex Neil
Norwich boss Alex Neil

Rafa Benitez is not expecting Norwich City to come to St James’s Park to defend.

Newcastle have struggled against defensive-minded sides on home turf this season, but Benitez feels Alex Neil’s in-form team, beaten 6-2 on Tyneside last season, will come and attack his side, who have looked adept at playing counter-attacking football away from home.

I don’t think they will play defensively. They are top of the table because they are a good team and can score goals with good defending.

Rafa Benitez

“I don’t think they will play defensively,” said United manager Benitez.

“They are top of the table, because they are a good team and can score goals with good defending.

“At the start of the season, everyone was waiting to see if we will play counter attacking.

“But it has to be like this. We have to show the other teams we are strong enough, and give everything. Show the honesty and that we want to win this game.”

Newcastle beat Queens Park Rangers 6-0 at Loftus Road earlier this month.

After United took the lead, QPR had to chase the game and left space for Benitez’s players to exploit.

“With respect, they (Norwich) are a very good team at the top and will be confident,” said Benitez.

“It is not that QPR was any different. It was that we scored and they had to come out. We had more space.

“If you score the other team comes out and you have more space.”

Asked if the first goal would be all-important, Benitez said: “Yes, but at the same time as a team if you want success, you have to manage all situations.

“If you want to be sure you are the top of the table, you need to manage all scenarios.”

Meanwhile, Benitez says he’s not entirely happy with Newcastle’s start to life in the Championship.

“I’m not happy (with the start), it could be better,” said Benitez. “I was doing some analysis, and we can improve our game a bit better.

“We can improve in all departments. In attack, we have to take our chances. In the middle, we have to control the game and the ball a bit better. At the back, we have to defend better

“We can also improve the substitutions.”