Rafa Benitez reveals what he told his Newcastle players after Man United defeat

Javier Manquillo, Rafa Benitez and Joselu.
Javier Manquillo, Rafa Benitez and Joselu.

Rafa Benitez has revealed what he said to his Newcastle United players after their agonising defeat at Old Trafford.

Manchester United beat Benitez's side 3-2 yesterday thanks to a 90th-minute winner from substitute Alexis Sanchez.

Winless Newcastle had led 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto.

But Juan Mata sparked a comeback with a 70th-minute free-kick.

Newcastle manager Benitez attempted to pick up his demoralised players in the dressing room after the defeat, which left the club 19th in the Premier League.

“Everybody was disappointed in the dressing room, but I told them we cannot complain about we did," said Benitez.

"We cannot upset, because we did so well for a while, and we deserved more. We have played against five of the top six already. Last year, we were in the bottom five teams in the table in December, and still we finished 10th. This year, hopefully it will be the same."

Newcastle took the game to Man United before the break, but it was a different story in the second half.

“As a team, we did so well," said Benitez. "It's a pity because, for 70 minutes, the organisation and determination of the team was so good.

"It’s just a pity that, in the end, we lost against a very good team. We conceded the first goal, and that changed the game.

"They continued pushing and pushing, and it was difficult to defend. We still had chances on the counter-attack. We had chances in the first half to score a third goal, and chances in the second half too.

"We could have done a little bit better, we didn’t score. They were pushing, and they scored.

"Obviously, they changed things, and they were really playing with four strikers at the same time. Their substitutions were top-class players, and it was difficult to stop, especially when you have players who are getting tired.

"They had fresh legs and quality, and they were very strong at the end."