Why Rafa Benitez is STILL not looking at the Championship table as Brighton edge closer to Newcastle
Rafa Benitez says he's STILL not looking at the Championship table.
League leaders Newcastle United lost their first league game since mid-September on Saturday.
A second-half goal from Charlie Mulgrew gave Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 win at St James’s Park.
And second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 at the Amex Stadium and narrow Newcastle’s lead to two points.
United manager Benitez, however, has again insisted that he is “not worried” about the table – yet.
“To be fair, I was not looking at the table before, and I will not worry about that now,” said Benitez.
“We have to concentrate on one game at a time, then we will see after some months where we are in the table.
“But, at the moment, we are fine. We have to keep doing the same things we were doing before – but not what we did against Blackburn.”
Benitez, unhappy at his players and referee David Coote, addressed his players in the dressing room after the game.
“I told them that we have to analyse these things,” he said. “They have to show the character and to understand how you can get through a game like that, which is something we have to learn.
“Everyone is a little bit down after a defeat. I am the first one who is not very happy, but I was expecting a difficult game.
“It was a difficult game, and in the end we lost.”
Meanwhile, Blackburn manager Owen Coyle feels that Newcastle will go on to win the Championship.
Coyle also feels his team – who have climbed out of the relegation zone – have enough quality to stay up this season.
“I’ve said consistently that we will not be in that area of the league over the course of the season,” Coyle said.
“Newcastle will go on and win the league, I have no doubt. But we showed that we can play a bit ourselves.
“The important thing now is to build momentum.
“That’s what I said after beating Brentford. There’s no point having a great performance then come to Newcastle and not perform.
“People will think I’m a little bit crazy, but we certainly believed that we could come here and win.”