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OPPOSITION VIEW: NEWCASTLE UNITED

31 December 2017

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Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez praised Brighton & Hove Albion for their organisation in yesterday’s goalless draw at St James’ Park, but also drew positives from his team’s defensive display.

Neither side was able to break the deadlock in a game of few clear-cut opportunities, and Benitez felt Albion took control of the game and made it hard for the Magpies to create openings in front of goal.

He said, "Obviously we’re not happy because we wanted to win. We created a little bit, but not too much, and they were well organised, so it was difficult to break them down.

"Their goalkeeper made a couple of saves and it could have been better for us, but I would say they [Albion] were doing well, managing the tempo of the game and controlling what they wanted.

"We also know they are dangerous at counter-attacks and set-pieces. It's a pity, but at least the team was fighting and giving everything like they do in every game.

"I think in the second half, we had more chances and we were pushing harder so this is the positive thing.

“The reaction of the team is that if something is wrong then they don't give up and they continue, so that is a positive too.”

Benitez was pleased with his team’s defensive contribution, as the Magpies prevented Albion from breaking their five-game goalless run on the road, and also praised the club’s supporters for their backing.

"Like I said before, they were managing the tempo of the game and we couldn't create too much, but at least we were solid more or less in the defensive half and that is the positive thing.

“The bad thing is that we have to win these games. It was a difficult game, but in these kind of games, you have to try and get three points.

"I think the fans are amazing for the team and they have to be behind the team all the time.

“When you don't win a game that everyone is suspecting that you have to win, then they have to be disappointed. But at the same time, they know that these players are giving everything."


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