Rafa Benitez reacts to Kenedy’s eye-catching Newcastle debut

Newcastle United's Kenedy.
Newcastle United's Kenedy.

Rafa Benitez believes Kenedy will get Newcastle United on the ball in the final third of the pitch.

Kenedy, signed on loan from Chelsea, made his debut in last night’s 1-1 draw against Burnley at St James’s Park.

The winger won a penalty and also set up Jamaal Lascelles’ goal.

Lascelles’s strike was cancelled out by a late goal from Sam Vokes, who headed in off goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

Asked about the 21-year-old’s performance, United manager Benitez said:“We needed two or three things to give the team confidence when we have the ball.

“Kenedy has to improve his match fitness, but in terms of the quality he has – good deliveries and good passes – he’s giving us something, and hopefully he will give us more.”

Joselu took the penalty won by Kenedy, but it was saved by goalkeeper Nick Pope.

The striker was on penalty duty as Matt Ritchie started the match on the bench.

“It’s a pity, because don’t have too many penalties,” said Benitez, whose side hadn’t won a penalty in the first half of the season.

“When we had to decide, it’s normally Ritchie. Ritchie was not there, and Joselu was second.

“He has not practiced too much, because we didn’t have penalties all season.

“It wasn’t a good penalty, but we have to carry on.”

Benitez felt that United had done enough to claim all three points.

“I think we have seen some games where we deserved to win and we couldn’t do it,” said Benitez.

“The reality is that we’re creating enough chances to win games, but we’re not defending in the way we have to defend if we want to be sure we can win games at home.

“It’s a pity. It’s a lack of experience at times. We’re in the second part of the league, so we have to learn quicker and don’t make these mistakes in defence and take our chances when we have chances.

“We had enough chances to win the game. That’s it.”

The result saw Newcastle climb one place to 14th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.