Newcastle urged to keep it simple by boss Benitez

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez
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Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has told his players to attempt fewer Hollywood passes – and play more simple balls.

Benitez was frustrated by the mistakes made in last weekend’s devastating 3-2 defeat to Norwich City, which left the Magpies in 19th plac in the Premier League, six points adrift from safety.

Newcastle visit Southampton on Saturday knowing anything other than a win will nudge them even closer to the Championship.

January signing Jonjo Shelvey was lauded for his match-winning “Hollywood passes” after his arrival from Swansea City.

But Benitez wants his players to “keep it simple” in the final seven games of the season.

“If you remember the (Norwich) game, the first 10-15 minutes we were fine,” said the Newcastle manager.

“We were not bad, but we made one or two mistakes – bad decisions – and we gave them belief that they could create something.

“When we were a little bit nervous and started making two or three mistakes – a throw in or a free-kick, a chance to push or attack.

“When you are in a situation like this you have to keep it simple.

“You cannot make mistakes. You have to play simple.

“Maybe you will not find the Hollywood pass, but you cannot give the ball away easily and give them hope that they can win. After 10-15 minutes, we started making mistakes.”

Benitez feels “nerves” are a factor in the mistakes the Tynresiders are making with and without the ball.

“When I was talking with them about these things, I thought we could manage,” Benitez told BBC Newcastle.

“But we made these mistakes in the first half and we made the mistakes late in the second half.

“So that is something that we have to address and change.

“Again, I would say it’s not easy when you are at the bottom of the table and people are nervous and they are going trying to win the ball and making these silly fouls. We have to improve these things.”