Rafa Benitez reacts to criticism of his Newcastle players

Rafa Benitez, right, and his Newcastle players at the Emirates Stadium
Rafa Benitez, right, and his Newcastle players at the Emirates Stadium
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Rafa Benitez has again insisted that his Newcastle United players are giving him everything.

The club dropped into the Premier League's relegation zone after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Mesut Ozil scored the only goal of the game at the Emirates Stadium.

READ MORE: Arsene Wenger: I know why Rafa Benitez took on the Newcastle job

The defeat, Newcastle's eighth in nine games, means Benitez's side have collected just one point from a possible 27.

However, United's players were applauded off the field after the Arsenal game by the club's 2,900 travelling fans.

And manager Benitez said: "You can't complain about the attitude and work rate of our players.

"They're giving everything, but we are where we are and we have what we have. They are doing so well in terms of effort and trying to do things that you cannot complain.

"We had a couple of chances at the end, although they also had a couple of chances in the first half and could have won with a bigger margin.

"Still, though, we stayed in the game, and when you are working as hard as we were working, that means that this team's still fighting.

"I think the fans appreciate that."

Ozil claimed all three points with a stunning first-half volley.

“Sometimes, those shots go into the stands, but when you have these kinds of players, they can score that kind of goal," said Benitez.

"That's the Premier League. We have to learn quickly and make sure we take our chances when we get them.

"We did well in defence against a team with pace and quality. For a while, we were in the game, and that's the only positive thing."