Rafa Benitez reveals what he wants from his Newcastle players after damaging Fulham defeat

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez has demanded a reaction from his jaded Newcastle United players in the wake of the club’s damaging defeat to Fulham.

Benitez’s side suffered a fifth Championship home defeat of the season on Saturday , with Fulham running out 3-1 winners at St James’s Park.

The key now is to react as a team in the right way. We have time to prepare for the next game and to be ready physically and mentally for the Birmingham game.

Rafa Benitez

Slavisa Jokanovic’s team went on to dominate the game after taking the lead through a goal from midfielder Tom Cairney, a player the club had enquired about last summer.

Ryan Sessegnon, 16, scored two goals after the break.

Newcastle, better away from home this season, lead second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion by goal difference ahead of Saturday’s game against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.

And United manager Benitez said: “The key now is to react as a team in the right way. We have time to prepare for the next game and to be ready physically and mentally for the Birmingham game.”

Asked if Newcastle’s home form was a worry, Benitez added: “Some of the games we’ve lost at home, we could have won easily because we didn’t take our chances.

“This one is different because we knew we were playing a team which enjoys a lot of possession and one which creates a lot of chances so we knew it wold be a difficult game.

“But we made too many mistakes and allowed them to play in the way they want to play.

“They’ve had more than 70% of possession in the last three games, we needed to be stronger.

“We started well with and with intensity, but when we won the ball we gave it away quickly.

“When we conceded the goal, you could feel the anxiety of players and we made mistake after mistake.

“We tried to find a solution at half-time, but then we conceded an early goal and everything was even worse, because we were under even more pressure.”