Rafa Benitez has a blunt message for those who question his Newcastle tactics

Rafa Benitez has insisted that he's NOT "negative" ahead of Newcastle United's game against Chelsea.

Saturday, 12th January 2019, 2:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th January 2019, 2:49 pm
Rafa Benitez.

The club could be in the Premier League's relegation zone by kick-off time at Stamford Bridge this evening.

Benitez – who claimed last month that it would be a "miracle" if United stay up this season – will be "realistic" in his approach to the game.

“It’s a challenge for me," said Newcastle's manager. "Am I happy to go in every game and say ‘can we get a point, can we get three points’? No. But I have to do it, I know that I have to do it and that’s it.

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"That means I'm not negative, that means I'm realistic.

"The Manchester City game against Burton (which was won 9-0 by Pep Guardiola's side) – what were you saying before the game? People were saying they have to play expansive football. They played four at the back and they conceded nine goals. Why? Because the other team is much better, that’s it.

"If you know that, and then you approach the game the right way, your message to your players has to be the right one. You don’t say to the newspapers or the fans this and that, because you have to say that – that would be worse.

"Because people would be thinking ‘we can do this or that’, and then we cannot. If you cannot, you cannot.

"Be sure that you do the right things at the right time. It doesn’t mean we cannot win against Chelsea, we can. But everything has to be right. We have to do well, they have to make mistakes, and that’s it."

Benitez's contract expires in the summer and the 58-year-old has, up to now, refused to discuss a new deal because of his transfer frustrations.

"I still have the belief we can be a big club and in the top 10," said Benitez. "But we have to do things the way they are going on now (in football).

"One technical director said to me 'I know what we need – we need full-backs'. They spent £50million on full-backs. Sometimes, you have to coach the players and improve them, maybe you have time or not.

"Sometimes you have to buy what you need. We are competing against teams with good players who are spending money."