Rafa Benitez ‘sorry’ after Newcastle’s FA Cup shambles

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez said he “felt sorry” for the Newcastle United fans who travelled to the Kassam Stadium.

Benitez’s side were knocked out of the FA Cup by Oxford United on Saturday.

When you lose, the first people you feel sorry for are your fans, especially when you play away.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle were backed by 1,787 supporters at the Kassam Stadium.

The visitors failed to capitalise on their first-half chances, and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s failure to convert from the penalty spot after the break proved costly.

Newcastle were trailing 1-0 at the time, and Oxford went on to beat a weakened team comfortably.

“When you lose, the first people you feel sorry for are your fans, especially when you play away.

“They are really good with the team. I said before that we had to come here and give everything, and if you make mistakes, you pay for them.”

Benitez made nine changes to his team for the game.

“As I said before, balance is the key,” said Benitez, who has lost a number of players to injury and the African Cup of Nations.

“In a team, you need experience and you need young players along with that. You have to have a good mix.

“If you have problems, then it is normally the experienced players that can make a difference. These kind of games show you exactly what you need.”

Benitez felt the penalty save turned the game.

“The penalty was a key part of the game,” he said. “We had chances in the first half, but then we conceded in the first minute of the second.

“After that, we had the penalty and there were too many things we did not right.”