Rafa Benitez ready to go on the attack at Newcastle

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United MUST go on the attack against Southampton.

Benitez’s side spent much of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on the back foot.

Goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane saw Jurgen Klopp’s team comfortably win the one-sided contest.

Relegation-threatened Newcastle are a point ahead of Southampton, and the home game is followed by a 21-day day break.

Benitez – who fielded a five-man defence at Anfield – felt that his team “controlled” the game before Salah’s 40th-minute opener, though they didn’t test goalkeeper Loris Karius until shortly before the break.

United, without injured midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, were poor on the counter-attack.

Against Southampton, Newcastle will need to get on the front foot.

“It’s obvious they are different teams, different scenarios,” said Benitez.

“So it’s not the same when you play away against one of the top teams in the Premier League than when you play at home against one of the teams in your position more or less.

“(It) was just to make sure we had good control and then play counter attack.

“We were not a real threat in the first half, but we were controlling the game so they didn’t have clear chances, just at the end a corner situation – nothing else.

“We were happy with that, but we were still not very happy (overall), because we have to create more.

“Obviously, Southampton will be different. We play at home with our fans behind us. We have to attack and we have to create chances.”

The game against Southampton, and the March 31 fixture against Huddersfield Town, have huge significance for Newcastle.

“Obviously, every game’s important to us, but in these types of games, against the teams close to us, we have to do well,” said Benitez.