Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle’s ‘wake-up call’ against Braga

Who has Rafa Benitez been linked with today?
Who has Rafa Benitez been linked with today?

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United’s 4-0 defeat to Braga was a “wake-up call”.

Benitez’s side were convincingly beaten at the Estadio Municipal de Braga last night.

When things are not going well off the pitch, you can see a reflection on the pitch,

Rafa Benitez

United manager Benitez said: “It was a wake-up call.

“We have to realise we can’t make these mistakes.”

The game followed a series of transfer frustrations for Benitez, who wants to sign four more players before the August 9 transfer deadline.

Benitez is keen to sign West Bromwich Albion’s Salomon Rondon, but the club has not activated his £16.5million release clause.

And Benitez suggested after the Braga game that the transfer situation was having an impact on his players.

“When things are not going well off the pitch, you can see a reflection on the pitch,” said Benitez, who is now in the final year of his contract at the club.

Newcastle finish their pre-season campaign with a home match against Augsburg at St James’s Park on Saturday.

The club, which finished 10th in the Premier League last term, kicks off it season with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur on August 11.

“It’s a wake-up call,” added Benitez.

“We have to be ready for the next friendly and the first game.

“We know that we have to improve a lot.”

Asked if the goalless draw against Porto last weekend had exposed weaknesses and limitations in his squad, Benitez said: “Yes.”

Benitez was without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey against Braga.

Benitez revealed after the match that Shelvey had only been left out of his team as a precaution after being troubled by a minor problem in the build-up to the game.

Winger Kenedy – who has had a few days paternity leave – has been training on Tyneside while his team-mates have been in Portugal.

Benitez and his players returned to Tyneside in the early hours of this morning ahead of the Augsburg match.