Rafael Benitez Insists He Is Proud of His Players Despite Disappointing First Half Display

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Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle lost 2-1 away from home to struggling Watford and have now lost their in each of their last three games in the Premier League. Newcastle secured their Premier League status with five games to spare and are now bidding to finish in the top half of the league for the first time since 2014; a fantastic achievement for the Magpies in their first season back in the top flight. 

Benitez’s side were poor in the opening exchanges, conceding two sloppy goals, the first coming after just two minutes. Newcastle were overwhelmed by the home side’s hunger and despite a fight back in the second period they couldn’t overcome their own shocking first half display. 

Speaking at the press conference after the game, Benitez said: “I am very disappointed. We didn’t start the game with the concentration we expected. We made too many mistakes and that’s why we lost the game. The reaction in the second half was good.

“So, if we had done what we were expecting to do from the first minute, we would have had control. We had control during the second half, but we made too many mistakes in the first half.”

He continued: “It’s not a question of motivation. We achieved something that was really important and difficult: to stay up with five games to go was a great achievement. I was really proud of this group of players because they were doing really well. 

“Now, still I am proud of them, but I would like to see the team winning and finish the season on a high.”

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