Rafa Benitez: My Newcastle side is NOT perfect '“ but it's getting better and better

Rafa Benitez says nothing will be left to chance at Newcastle United as he bids to take the club back into the Premier League.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20th February 2017, 5:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:23 am
Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

The club is second in the Championship ahead of tonight’s home game against Aston Villa.

Brighton and Hove Albion lead the division after their win over Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday.

And Benitez is set to recall Dwight Gayle to his starting XI as Newcastle look to retake the lead and stretch the gap between themselves and third-placed Huddersfield Town.

United came from behind to draw 2-2 against Norwich City at Carrow Road six days ago.

Newcastle gifted the home side their two goals, and United’s manager has been “analysing” the mistakes with his players and staff ahead of the Villa game.

“We analyse every game,” said Benitez. “Everything that happens, we try to analyse.

“Maybe we see some things that you cannot work out in a week, but there are other things that you can change in a day.

“Then there are things like the incident that happened with (Karl) Darlow, and you cannot do anything about that. You just keep reminding him of what he has been doing well. As long as he keeps on doing the things he was doing right, he will be fine. It will not be a problem.

“We analysed the first goal, and maybe we should have played it a bit more simple and not put ourselves under pressure.

“We analyse everything, and you have to train with these things in mind.”

Newcastle have scored more goals than any other team in the Championship.

The team also has the best defensive record in English football’s second tier, but Benitez sees room for improvement all over the pitch.

“You have to coach the players every day, but overall, we have scored more goals than anyone and we have conceded fewer goals than anyone,” said Benitez.

“That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but we are a little bit better than the others.

“We are making mistakes, but we are improving. We have to improve more, but overall I am happy with the way we are doing things.”

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez says he’s already drawing up lists of summer transfer targets at.

The club “disappointed” Benitez by failing to make a signing in last month’s transfer window.

However, United are now scouting players ahead of the summer window.

“The scouts are analysing big things for the future, watching games and filing reports,” said Benitez. “There will be future meetings to analyse the market.

“The difficult thing here is you don’t know if we will be in the Premier League or the Championship, but we are still looking for good players. Then we will have some time to see what our targets are.”

“Benitez has not spoken to United owner Mike Ashley since last summer, when he committed himself to the club in the wake of relegation. Instead, he deals with managing director Lee Charnley.

“My relationship is always with Lee,” said Benitez. “He’s the one I talk to.

“We will have some meetings in the future to talk about what we want to do. We know our squad and that we have to maybe find some balance in some positions.

“We will start monitoring players just so we know we are ready.”