Rafa Benitez reveals his message to his Newcastle United players

Rafa Benitez refused to make excuses for his Newcastle United side after the club’s London Stadium defeat.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 6:00 am
Rafa Bentiez.

Goals from Declan Rice and Mark Noble saw West Ham United win 2-0 on Saturday.

The result had followed Premier League home wins over Burnley and Huddersfield Town.

West Ham were quicker and sharper in the first half, and deservedly led by two goals at the break, having capitalised on defensive errors from the visitors.

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Newcastle improved in the second half, and striker Salomon Rondon led a late rally.

Asked if it was a game too far for his team, Benitez said: “No. I will not make this excuse.

“We had plenty of time to recover from the last game, but what we did was make too many mistakes in terms of concentration.

“At the beginning we had to do things in a different way, we didn’t do it and then, after, we conceded two goals that we could have avoided and then we were under pressure because we put ourselves under pressure. That’s it.”

Benitez had warned his players what would happen if they eased off and “lacked concentration”.

And United’s manager will stress this week to his team that the club, on 31 points with nine games left to play, is not yet safe.

“We tried to talk with the players and explain to them that we needed to do exactly what we were doing before when we were winning games in a row,” said Benitez.

“We didn’t do that. We started the game with a lack of concentration, and then we conceded two goals at set pieces that we could have easily avoided.”

Benitez added: “I’m disappointed, and hopefully we will learn from this in the future and not make these same mistakes in the next nine games.

“We have nine games to play, and still we are in a relegation battle so we have to be sure that we approach them like a final.

“We cannot be thinking we are safe, no chance.”