Rafa Benitez reacts to the missed chances that cost Newcastle at the Amex Stadium

Dwight Gayle looks despondent at the final whistle
Dwight Gayle looks despondent at the final whistle

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United can’t afford to keep missing chances.

The club’s three-game winning run came to an end at the Amex Stadium yesterday.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Benitez’s side were beaten 1-0 by Brighton and Hove Albion, who were promoted with them to the Premier League last season.

Tomer Hemed scored the only goal of the game at the Amex Stadium.

The result saw the club end the weekend in seventh place.

Joselu – who had failed to convert three good opportunities the previous weekend – had United’s best chance, but the striker dragged his first-half shot wide.

Mikel Merino also forced a good save from Mathew Ryan with an early volley from a corner.

“We did some good things,” said Benitez, who was also frustrated that his team didn’t create more clearcut opportunities after the break.

“We gave them some chances, and we had some chances of our own as well. We finished the game very strongly, creating a lot of chances.

“We had chances but didn’t take them. There was a chance for Joselu in the first half, and then in the second half we had three or four good positions where we should have done better.

“We have to learn from this defeat. In the Premier League, you have to take your chances when they come along.

“You have to take your chances, and you also have to be stronger in defence if you want to make sure that you will have a clean sheet.”

Hemed beat Rob Elliot with a shot on the turn after Dale Stephens headed a Pascal Gross free-kick into his path.

Benitez, however, felt that Chancel Mbemba had been fouled by Bruno in the box.

Newcastle’s manager said: “I’m disappointed because the goal is a clear foul.

“We didn’t defend it well, I will admit that, but at the same time, there was a player who was making a clear movement with a clear push. It wasn’t a block, it was a foul.

“That’s it, and the referee (Andre Marriner) had a really good position.

“I haven’t spoken to the referee about it, but it is very clear, you can see from the replay.

“It’s not a player standing still, blocking. It’s a player in movement, pushing. It’s a very clear foul. Still, though, we did not defend it well.

“We have to be stronger, I don’t disagree with that. But it is still a clear foul.”

Hemed appeared to stamp on DeAndre Yedlin late in the game, and the incident was not seen by referee Andre Marriner.

Asked if he had been stamped on, Yedlin said: “I felt something on my calf.

“I didn’t see anything. I was in the mix of things. I don’t know, it’s not really important. It’s important we learn from our mistakes and move on.”

Hemed said he caught Yedlin “by accident”.

But Yedlin added: “I don’t know. Like I said, I didn’t see anything. I was on the ground.

“Whether it was accidental or not, it doesn’t really matter now, but I’m sure whoever is on the committee that punishes that sort of thing will figure it out.

“For me, we’ve got to learn from the day and move on.”

Benitez said: “I didn’t see this game as a tough game with a lot of bad tackles. I saw some fouls and things, but nothing beyond that.”

United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was banned for three games for a stamp on Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli in the club’s season-opener.