Rafa Benitez responds to question on need for a new striker at Newcastle

Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey scraps for the ball against Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko last night
Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey scraps for the ball against Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko last night

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United can finish even higher up the Premier League table next season – with a little more “quality”.

Benitez’s side were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley last night.

Newcastle created a series of first-half chances, but they couldn’t put the ball in the net.

And Harry Kane claimed all three points for Spurs with a second-half strike.

Asked if he needed a striker in the summer, manager Benitez said: “Yes.

“We know that we need to keep the same team spirit, the same mentality, the same commitment from all these players, and a little bit more quality to help and be sure that in these kind of games, you take you chances and win the games.”

Newcastle are 10th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s final game of the season against Chelsea.

“I said before I want to finish as high as possible, but, for me, 10th or ninth, it doesn’t change my life,” said Benitez.

Benitez also said there was “no news” from talks over a new contract.

The 58-year-old’s contract runs out at the end of next season, and his representatives have held discussions with the club’s hierarchy over a new deal.

United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has claimed that keeping Benitez would be the club’s most important signing this summer.

Shelvey said: “Hopefully, the manager will stay and we’ll keep building.

“I think that’s probably the most important signing of the summer, to make Rafa stay.

“When I first came to the club, there wasn’t really a link between the fans and the players, and he’s just turned the whole city around.

“There’s just such a buzz in Newcastle.

“Everywhere you go, the fans are always talking to you.

“He’s just turned the whole place around.”

Meanwhile, Benitez reacted to the news that Sir Alex Ferguson had come out of intensive care following surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

“I think it’s important for anyone he’s improving,” said Benitez. “If you have these kind of problems, a good recovery is crucial.”