Chris Hughton faces down critics ahead of Newcastle United's visit to the Amex Stadium

Chris Hughton has hit back at criticism of his defensive tactics ahead of Newcastle United's visit to the Amex Stadium.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:10 am
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez's side take on Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow in a televised game.

The home side are just three points above the Premier League's relegation zone with three games left to play, while Newcastle are now safe, having secured their top-flight status last weekend.

Former United manager Hughton has come under fire for his defensive tactics in recent weeks.

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Benitez faced similar criticism from pundits earlier in the season for the way he set out his teams against the better teams in the division.

"I don't think there’s such a thing (as anti-football) – I don't see it," said Hughton. "For any way of playing, the game is made up of so many different components.

"What we would all love to do is have the best players, the biggest finances, to be able to play in a way that is expansive and open with strikers who can score at will.

"We'd all like that, but the game is made up of favourites and underdogs. Big, big favourites and big, big underdogs.

"When you are a team in a particular type of game that the bookie will have you so far behind in trying to win it, you tactically have to figure out a way of getting results.

"That means you sometimes have to make sure you are solid, not conceding, and play on the break.

"However, football changes over the next 20 years, even if the rules change, the one thing I can guarantee you is that in 20 years time this will be no different.

"The team that is struggling to score goals, that is nowhere near the level of the other team, will have to find a way of staying in the game to get results."