Rafa Benitez makes personal plea to Newcastle's 'amazing' fans
Rafa Benitez has pleaded with fans to go easy on his Newcastle United players '“ as criticism will only make it harder for them.
Benitez's side take on West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns tonight looking to end a run of four successive Premier League defeats.
Supporters have been critical of a number of players during the 14th-placed club's losing run.
However, Benitez – who yesterday admitted it could get worse before it gets better for Newcastle this season – believes the criticism is counter-productive.
“I was at Extramadura, the smallest team in the Spanish league at this time," said Benitez. "We were promoted and everybody knew that we were the smallest team. Everybody was supporting us and at the end, we were nearly there.
“Newcastle United is a bigger club and there's a massive city behind the team. It's just stick together, and we will have more chances than some teams.
“My experience is very simple. If you are more nervous, you make more mistakes. If you are calm, it will be easier. It will still be tough, but it will be easier.
“If we don't want to understand that, at the end, we will go where we don't want to go. If we make the mistake of criticising our players all the time, they will go into the next game and they will be more anxious, more nervous, and they will make more mistakes.
“Are we happy with that? No. Our fans have been amazing last season, and this year at home and away, and we have to continue in the same way.
“If someone misses a chance, fine. Next time, maybe he will be better. If someone makes a mistake in defence and we concede, I will be upset, but still we have to carry on."
Benitez's continued selection of Joselu, signed in the summer from Stoke City, has also been questioned by some fans.
And there have been calls for Aleksandar Mitrovic – who spoke about his United future last week – to be brought into the starting XI.
Benitez said: “We are watching the players training every single week.
"The players have to show in the training sessions that they deserve to play, and after they have to go on to the pitch and they have to show the same desire – the same desire in every training session and every game."