Rafa Benitez struggles to find positives from Newcastle's FA Cup draw

Rafa Benitez admitted a replay was the last thing Newcastle United wanted after his team drew 1-1 in the FA Cup with Blackburn Rovers.

Saturday, 5th January 2019, 7:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:32 pm
Rafa Benitez and Tony Mowbray.

A late penalty from Matt Ritchie booked the club an unwelcome replay at Ewood Park.

Bradley Dack had given Blackburn the lead with a second-half header, but Ritchie stepped up after United substitute Ayoze Perez was tripped up in the box.

Defender Florian Lejeune, out since the summer after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, made his comeback in the game.

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Asked for the positives, Newcastle manager Benitez said: "Some young players playing, some players who were not playing 90 minutes did well, the reaction of the team after we conceded and Lejeune coming back after four and a half months.

"Those are the positives, but it's disappointing, as we have to play another game. We didn't play at the level I was expecting, but the reaction was good.

"It's another game, another situation that you have to manage. More minutes, more players, more risk."

Meanwhile, Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray was also "disappointed" at the result.

"The dressing room is very quiet," said Mowbray. "I couldn't really see Newcastle scoring. It was disappointing. We could do with a bit more quality as we move the club forward.

"We are where we are. We were in League One last year and Newcastle were in the Premier League. When the quality came on, it made a difference."