Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez defends 'negative' tactics ahead of games against Manchester City and Tottenham

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has defended his tactics against the top Premier League sides, ahead of tonight's clash with Manchester City.

By Joe Nicholson
Tuesday, 29 January, 2019, 15:34
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has defended his tactics ahead of tonight's clash with Manchester City.

Just over a year has passed since City's last visit to St James's Park, and despite the 1-0 win for Pep Guardiola's side that night, many pundits were critical of Newcastle's negative approach.

Yet Benitez, whose side lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture at City earlier in the season, still believes in his methods, with Magpies once again fighting to avoid relegation.

"The way we have played against some teams we have scored goals, it’s a question of balance," said Benitez.

"People have to realise balance means attack and defence. We are normally well organised. Strong defence and create chances. We have to keep this balance, stay organised and create more chances.

“We said last year that. One point could make a difference. This year is exactly the same. It makes no sense to lose 6-1 and 9-0, it is really bad for confidence of your players.

“You have to play like we did against City, we score a great goal, or Chelsea here when we conceded with minutes to go. It depends on characteristics and level of your players. We are quite solid, sometimes we can win. We can’t complain about what they do. If I am right we get more chances to stay up.

Following their 3-0 win over Cardiff, Newcastle sit 17th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone.

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And despite admitting there is a big gulf between the top six sides in the division and the rest of the league, Benitez believes his side can cause City problems.

“You analyse the way they play, they have four or five of the fastest in the Premier League, they can play behind the lines, can defend really high," said Benitez.

"Why did they win the title? Why score so many goals? Because they are a good team.

“We will try to use our strengths and ways to counter attack, I can see teams with some good players who didn’t create chances against them. If we do well we will have a chance.

“Cardiff was a massive game, Huddersfield before was a massive game and this will be a massive game. If you say playing against City is harder than Chelsea, Tottenham Liverpool, it’s the same because they are all good players. I want to win, get points and it doesn’t matter about tactics it’s about what the players do to make a difference.

Following the Cardiff win, Newcastle's defeat by Watford in the FA Cup damped the mood on Tyneside, but Benitez isn't too concerned about the result.

“The team was doing well, scoring goals, but I have seen a lot of teams in the PL lose in the FA cup but still they carry on so we have to carry on." he added.