Rafa Benitez reveals his approach to the EFL Cup after Newcastle progress to the last 16

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez is adamant that Newcastle United can fight on more than one front this season.

Benitez’s side booked their place in the last 16 of the EFL Cup with a 2-0 win over Wolves last night.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle’s priority is winning promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

But United manager Benitez feels his team is capable of going further in the EFL Cup.

“The fans will want to hear that we will go and win the final, and it could be easy for me to say that,” said Benitez, who made eight changes to his team for the Wolves game.

“What I would say is that we want to be ambitious, and we want to go for every game and try to win. If we cannot, we cannot, but we will try.

What I would say is that we want to be ambitious, and we want to go for every game and try to win.

“We have the right players. We changed eight players, but we could still compete. That is my idea – to make sure we can play a strong team that can compete against anyone.

“If we go forward in the competition, we will challenge and we will try. If we cannot (succeed), it is maybe because we are not strong enough to go further, but we will try. I cannot promise anything, only that we will try to win.”

Benitez had been “disappointed” by the manner of United’s 2-0 defeat to Wolves in the Championship on Saturday.

“It obviously feels better,” said Benitez, who handed debuts to Daryl Murphy and Achraf Lazaar.

“We wanted to win and we did it. We changed players and gave an opportunity to different players, but we had to win and go through and we did it with two great goals and a clean sheet. It was very positive.

“We gave an opportunity to some players that hadn’t been playing, alongside some players who had been playing games.

“That balance allowed us to give some match fitness to some players, and it was also an opportunity for the players to show their levels. The mix of players was good in the end.”

Asked about Murphy and Lazaar, he added: “They worked very hard, which is what you would expect from them.

“Sometimes, on their debut, players can have a fantastic game or they can do nothing. What they always have to do is work hard, and they did it. They did their jobs.”

Newcastle will discover their fourth-round opponents after tonight’s third-round games.