Brighton 1 Newcastle Utd 0: Benitez urges Magpies to take their chances as winning run ends

Tomer Hemed (10) watches his winner hit the back of the Newcastle net to give Brighton all three points
Tomer Hemed (10) watches his winner hit the back of the Newcastle net to give Brighton all three points

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United can’t afford to keep missing chances.

The Magpies’ three-game winning Premier League run ended at the Amex Stadium yesterday, as Tomer Hemed bagged the only goal for Brighton.

Joselu – who had failed to convert three good opportunities the previous weekend – had the Tynesiders’ best chance, but the Spanish striker dragged his first-half shot wide.

Mikel Merino also forced a good save from keeper Mathew Ryan with an early volley from a corner.

“We did some good things,” said Benitez, who was also frustrated that his team didn’t create more clearcut opportunities after the break.

“We gave them some chances, and we had some chances of our own as well. We finished the game very strongly, creating a lot of chances.

“We had chances but didn’t take them. There was a chance for Joselu in the first half, and then in the second half we had three or four good positions where we should have done better.

“We have to learn from this defeat. In the Premier League, you have to take your chances when they come along.

“You have to take your chances, and you also have to be stronger in defence if you want to make sure that you will have a clean sheet.”

Hemed beat Rob Elliot with a shot on the turn after Dale Stephens headed a Pascal Gross free-kick into his path.

Benitez, however, felt that Chancel Mbemba had been fouled by Bruno in the box.

Newcastle’s manager said: “I’m disappointed because the goal is a clear foul.

“We didn’t defend it well, I will admit that, but at the same time, there was a player who was making a clear movement with a clear push. It wasn’t a block, it was a foul.

“That’s it, and the referee (Andre Marriner) had a really good position.

“We have to be stronger, I don’t disagree with that. But it is still a clear foul.”

Hemed appeared to stamp on DeAndre Yedlin late in the game, and the incident was not seen by referee Andre Marriner.

Asked if he had been stamped on, Yedlin said: “I felt something on my calf.

“I didn’t see anything. I was in the mix of things. It’s not really important. It’s important we learn from our mistakes and move on.”

Hemed said he caught Yedlin “by accident”.

Brighton: Ryan, Saltor, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner, Knockaert (Murphy 81), Stephens, Propper, March, Gross, Hemed. Subs not used: Krul, Hunemeier, Izquierdo, Schelotto, Rosenior, Brown. Booked: Knockaert, Duffy. Goal: Hemed 51

Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba (Gamez 83), Hayden (Shelvey 68), Merino, Ritchie, Perez, Atsu, Joselu (Gayle 71). Subs: Murphy, Diame, Manquillo, Darlow. Booked: Lascelles. Att: 30,468. Ref: Andre Marriner