Rafa Benitez: No time for excuses at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says it’s NOT the time to make excuses at Newcastle United – as the solutions to the club’s problems must come from within the dressing room.

Benitez’s side were beaten 3-2 at St James’s Park by Leicester City on Saturday.

Claude Puel’s side claimed all three points on what was the club’s 125th birthday thanks to a late own goal from substitute Ayoze Perez.

Newcastle, now 16th in the Premier League, go into Wednesday night’s hugely-important home game on the back of a dismal run in which they have taken just one point from seven games.

United manager Benitez acknowledged the urgency of the club’s plight after the Leicester defeat.

“What I said before and I will say it again, the only way is for players, supporters, staff and everyone to stick together,” said Benitez.

“It’s not the time to make excuses. It’s the time to analyse what’s going on and improve – quickly.”

Newcastle, as high as sixth in October, are just two points above the Premier League’s relegation zone.

Benitez has always maintained that his team is good enough to stay up.

However, United’s rivals are picking up points – and his team must follow suit.

Asked if he still believed Newcastle could stay up, Benitez said: “Yes, for sure.

“I think we can do it, but it depends on the other teams.

“If they have two or three chances and they take two of them, then you will suffer.

“We have to create more chances, if possible, and not give them so many.”

Benitez believes that his players are giving him everything on the pitch.

“I think the supporters appreciate it (the effort), but it’s difficult, when you lose another game, to try and explain everything,” added Benitez.

“But this team’s working so hard – it’s trying so hard to win games.

“We’re reacting in the right way when things are going wrong, but we have to learn to manage the situation.

“We’re still making a lot of mistakes, and it’s quite difficult for everybody. All we can do is keep working harder.”