Rafa Benitez reacts to criticism of his team selection after Newcastle’s Carabao Cup defeat

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Rafa Benitez defended his decision to make 10 changes after Newcastle United crashed out of the Carabao Cup.

Benitez’s side were beaten 3-2 by Nottingham Forest after extra-time at St James’s Park last night.

Tyler Walker scored a 98th-minute winner for the Championship club in front of a 27,709 crowd.

Only Chancel Mbemba had played in Sunday’s defeat to Huddersfield Town, while a number of players made available for transfer were named in Newcastle’s starting XI.

Achraf Lazaar, told to train at the Academy last month, also came off the bench.

Asked about his teamsheet, United manager Benitez said: “I made the changes because we played (three) days ago.

“The players have to be ready to play in the cup against a Championship team. If you cannot, then it means that something is wrong.

“I thought we could do and, watching the number of chances we had, I think we deserved to go through.

“If you are going to go through in the cups, you have to use your squad.

“If you cannot do that, it means you have to improve. It has proved that we have to improve in some areas.”

Benitez, without three injured defenders, felt that his team created enough chances to win the game.

Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the scoring in the third minute, but Forest’s Jason Cummings took advantage of some uncertain defending to net either side of the half-hour mark.

Rolando Aarons capped a fine first-half performance with a superb goal.

United pressured Forest late in the game, but Mark Warburton’s side held firm to take the game into extra-time and then secured victory.

“There were positives,” said Benitez. “Rolando’s performance, some play from (Jacob) Murphy, the work-rate of (Henri) Saivet and Mitrovic.

“A lot of players were trying, and you have to take that as a positive. But if you are better in the box, that can make the difference.”