Rafa Benitez reacts to Martin Dubravka's Newcastle error against Man United

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez bemoaned yet another costly mistake after Newcastle United suffered an eighth home defeat.

Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford gave Manchester United a 2-0 win at St James’s Park last night.

Martin Dubravka.

Martin Dubravka.

Lukaku scored seconds after coming off the bench in the 63rd minute.

The striker seized on an error from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who spilled a free-kick from Rashford.

Rashford netted a second for the visitors with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Newcastle, 15th in the Premier League, are just two points above the relegation zone.

Benitez felt his team “deserved more” for their efforts against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Newcastle’s manager said: “We have to be disappointed in the way that we lost, because if the other team is doing really well, much better than you, then that's fair enough.

“But we were doing enough to deserve something more.

“We made a mistake and conceded the first goal, and then after that, when we were doing better, we conceded the second goal in a counter-attack.

“I think for 85 minutes we deserved more than losing in the way we did.”

Benitez believes Newcastle’s decisions in the final third of the pitch are letting them down.

“The message is clear,” said Benitez.

“The final third – the assist, the final ball, the final decision – that is the key if you want to score more goals.

“The team is organised and working really hard, so the players are trying to do their best all the time.

“But these kind of players on the other team, they can make the difference in one situation.

“We need to create more chances, and not make any mistakes.

“That’s something we knew, and it’s just a shame after all the big effort the players were making, you concede a goal like that and lose the game that way.”

Asked if he was worried about the confidence of his team, Benitez said: “Not really.

“The majority of the players are fine. Someone can make mistakes sometimes.

“In terms of the final decision, we carry and continue trying to encourage them. That’s it.”

Asked how he could improve the team’s decision-making, Benitez said: “The same. Try to work hard and analyse what we are doing wrong. Training, talking and practising.

“We did it after January (last year), it was fine. We were very, very close to getting something.

“When you are close, you can lose, but also you are close to getting something.”

Newcastle take on Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Benitez – who lost midfielder Mohamed Diame to injury against Man United – will make a number of changes for the third-round tie.

“We will see who is available, and after we will decide the team,” said Benitez.

“The priority is exactly the same, trying to approach every game trying to win with the players we have.”

On Diame, Benitez added: “Diame has had this problem in the past.

“Hopefully, in a couple of days he will be fine. He was trying to continue.

“Normally, after a few days, he’s fine.”