Rafa Benitez accepts Newcastle have not had things all their own way this season

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez accepts his team can be much easier on the eye than they have of late.

But the manager is a realist.

And he also knows from experience that when it comes to the business end of any campaign it is victories that matter, not the manner in which they are achieved.

"If you play well you have more chance of winning games. But you cannot always play this way," he said.

"It is important you react and are competitive.

"We are happy with what we are doing.

"Can we be happier? Maybe.

"The fans can feel when something is wrong, everybody is expecting us to do better. They want you to do better.

"They are clever enough and they realise that we have to do the job which we have done all season.

"They need to stay behind the team."

United have won more games than any other team in the top four divisions in England, as well as having scored more goals, conceded less and have a better goal difference than anyone in the second tier.

Yet still, Benitez's Newcastle have their critics.

The manager believes that United are not the only ones who have had struggles, especially when so much is at stake.

"You can see that Leeds have had problems, Huddersfield and Brighton, too," he said.

"It is not easy to win at this stage of the season.

"It is not easy to play the way you want to play when everybody is playing for something - promotion, relegation and the play-offs.

"It is important to play better but be solid and consistent ,score goals and win games.

"What I liked the other day was the commitment, the reaction, the character - things that are really important if you want to win games at this stage of the season."