Did Newcastle's defeat to West Brom underline the need for summer investment? Rafa Benitez has his say
Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United need a precision approach to their last three games.
Benitez was unhappy with what he felt was an error-strewn performance against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
A first-half goal from Matt Phillips gave the Premier League's basement club a 1-0 win at St James's Park.
Benitez bemoaned his team's decision making after the game, which followed a defeat to Everton by the same scoreline.
“We were working so hard to be safe that when you achieve that, it's more difficult," said United manager Benitez. "But you could see the team was running so it’s not a lack of effort. It's more that it was wrong decisions all the time, from the first minute to the last one.
“In terms of effort we were trying, we played with two strikers and Kenedy. We were trying to score.
"But we didn’t do well because we made too many mistakes. When you have a team that is defending well and is well organised. You have to be precise in your passes and then the right decisions. Everything we were doing was wrong."
Asked about the reaction of his players to the defeat, Benitez said: “For sure, they know that they're not playing at the level that we used to play.
"It's obvious that the team was making a great effort to be where we are, and now it's two or three things that we didn’t do right and you pay for that."
Benitez is already planning ahead for next season, though his own future hinges on end-of-season talks with owner Mike Ashley, who wants him to commit his long-term future to United.
For his part, Benitez wants to know that Ashley's ambitions, assuming the for-sale club doesn't change hands this summer, match his own.
Asked if the defeats to West Brom and Everton were a reminder of the need for new signings, Benitez said: “It's a reminder that we have done a great job, but still we need to improve if we want to be stable in the Premier League.
"We have plenty of room for improvement."
Newcastle remain 10th in the division ahead of Saturday's game against Watford at Vicarage Road.