Rafa Benitez says his Newcastle United players are giving him “everything” – but he admits that’s not enough in the Premier League.
Benitez named a starting XI of players he had in the Championship against Swansea City on Saturday.
Newcastle came from behind to claim a point from a 1-1 draw at St James’s Park thanks to a goal from substitute Joselu.
Benitez left four of his summer signings on the bench for the game against Carlos Carvalhal’s side.
Asked about naming a team which had played in the Championship last season, Benitez said: “Carvalhal told me that before the game. It tells everybody where we are. I have been saying it all season. Some people say ‘ah, but you have to do this, you have to do that’, but that’s the reality.
“We’re in the Premier League, and we have a lot of players giving everything, but sometimes it’s not enough.
“That’s the amazing thing and the positive thing, that they’re working so hard. You could see in the first half that we had chances.
“We conceded the goal, and after that we were reacting and we were pushing and we were working even harder.
“When we scored our goal, we were on top of them and were pushing all the time. That’s the positive that we can take from this game.”
Asked if he thought he’d get to January with the same team when United won promotion, Benitez added: “No.”
Newcastle are 15th in the table ahead of Saturday’s game away to league leaders Manchester City.
“It could be better, because we could’ve avoided some of the goals we’ve conceded and we could have taken some of our chances,” said Benitez.
“But we’re in a position which isn’t easy and which we maybe deserve to be in because of the quality of the teams around us too.”
Summer signings Mikel Merino, Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo started the game on the bench alongside Joselu.
Benitez said: “Some of them are injured. Sometimes players aren’t doing so well, so you have to manage that.”