Rafa Benitez reacts after Newcastle's Matz Sels deletes Twitter account over abuse

Matz Sels and Dwight Gayle
Matz Sels and Dwight Gayle

Rafa Benitez has told his players to focus on football after Matz Sels deleted his Twitter account.

Newcastle United's goalkeeper was abused online by a small number of fans after Saturday's 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

Sels, signed from Gent in the summer, was blamed by some supporters for the late equaliser Benitez's side conceded at Villa Park.

Many more fans, however, backed Sels to make a success of his move to the club.

United manager Benitez says he has not yet decided whether Sels or Karl Darlow will play against Championship leaders Norwich City at St James's Park tomorrow night.

Asked about Sels, Benitez said: "He (Sels) was fine.

"They are professionals, and they have to deal with this kind of situation. He has done well in some games. In other games – like me, like anyone – you make mistakes.

"He has done well. He is a young lad, and he has come from another country.

"We know how hard it can be to settle down, but he just needs to keep working hard and trying to improve his game."

Benitez is keen for his players to "concentrate" on their football over the coming weeks and months.

"I have a website and a Twitter account for the website," said Benitez. "There is a way to deal with things.

"If you need something to promote your views or image, that is fine, but you cannot be interacting with everyone because it would be impossible to manage.

"We have to concentrate on football. If you have Twitter or another social media account, use it to communicate, but not for interaction.

"You do not know who is behind a message, so how can you interact? It’s important the players concentrate on their football.

"You can message someone telling them something, but who is the other person making those comments? It’s better to ignore that and concentrate on your football.

"That is what you can improve. Ignore that, listen to your goalkeeping coach and that’s how you can improve and make yourself better."

Darlow – who has played in Newcastle's two EFL Cup ties – is pushing Sels hard at the fifth-placed club.

"The goalkeepers are doing well," said Benitez.

"Karl has been doing well in the cup games, so I will decide tomorrow. I have told them both they have to put me under pressure, that is what I like."