Rafa Benitez mulls over Jonjo Shelvey’s suitability to captain Newcastle

Benitez watches on as Lejeune limps off.
Benitez watches on as Lejeune limps off.

Jonjo Shelvey apologised to Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle United team-mates – after letting them down.

The midfielder has picked up a three-game ban for his dismissal in yesterday’s 2-0 season-opening defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Florian Lejeune lies injured after a tackle from Harry Kane.

Florian Lejeune lies injured after a tackle from Harry Kane.

Shelvey was shown a red card for standing on Dele Alli’s ankle early in the first half when the score was still goalless.

Tottenham had found space hard to come by in the first half.But they were able to move the ball freely against 10-man United – who lost Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune to injuries before the break – after Shelvey’s dismissal.

Asked if he felt let down by Shelvey, Newcastle manager Benitez said: “It’s not me, it’s everyone.

“We have talked about that for a while. He knows he has made a mistake and he apologised in the dressing room. But we lost the game.”

“I would also like to say that the tackle from behind from Harry Kane (on Lejeune) was worse.

“The rules are the rules, and we paid for that. We made a mistake.

“We have to analyse everything.

“We can’t change anything now, we move forward and we think about solutions.

“He apologised to everyone afterwards.

“He knows he made a mistake.”

Shelvey had been wearing the captain’s armband.

The 25-year-old led the team out as club skipper Jamaal Lascelles – who replaced Dummett – was among the substitutes.

Asked if he would captain the team again, Benitez said: “We will see in the future. It is too early.”

Benitez felt there were “positives” to take from the perfomance.

However, the 57-year-old didn’t hide his frustration at Shelvey’s “mistsake”.

“I was happy with the effort of the players,” said Benitez.

“There were a lot of positives, but still if you want to win games then we can’t lose our focus for one minute.

“We know now we are in the Premier League, and we have to do everything really well if we want to win games.

“All the effort we put in on the pitch was lost because we did one mistake.

“There were a lot of positives there for all the players.

“I’m not happy with the performance, because we have lost, but they put in effort until the end.

“The players were pushing and trying to our best. That’s the positive thing.”

Benitez was unhappy with Kane, who he felt could also have been shown a red card for his challenge on Shelvey.

“I said it was worse because I had to change one player,” he said.

“Watching the replay again from the bench in front of the fourth official, it was a surprise.”

Meanwhile, Benitez says the club is continuing its efforts in the transfer market.

The club has signed five players so far this summer, and Benitez wants at least three more arrivals.

“It’s the same situation before,” he said. “It doesn’t change too much. We know what we need and we know what we have to do. I don’t know if anything is close.”