Jonjo Shelvey has apologised for red card, says Rafa Benitez
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 14/08/17 12:00am
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez says his captain Jonjo Shelvey has apologised to his team-mates after his sending off for stamping on Tottenham's Dele Alli.
Shelvey was dismissed three minutes into the second half after landing his studs on Alli's ankle as the Spurs midfielder lay on the turf, with Newcastle going on to lose their Premier League opener 2-0 at St James's Park.
Referee Andre Marriner's decision came after Harry Kane had got away with a only booking for a dangerous-looking challenge on Newcastle debutant Florian Lejeune in the first half which forced the French defender off injured.
"It was a great effort against a good team," said Benitez. "To go to the point where it was 0-0 and with the chances that we had with a couple of counter attacks I would say again against a good team, it was a pity that everything changed. Things weren't going well with the injuries but after the sending off it changed everything.
"What I would say is that he [Shelvey] made a mistake. Still I would like to see if it's more dangerous this situation or the tackle from behind [Kane on Lejeune]. But it's no excuses. He made a mistake and that's it. He knows he's made a mistake and he's apologised but it can't change anything now.
"There were a lot of positives, but still if you want to win games, we cannot lose our focus for just one minute. We know that we are in the Premier League and we have to do everything really well if we want to win games. All the effort that we put on the pitch was lost because we made a mistake."
Newly-promoted Newcastle had gone toe-to-toe with last season's runners-up Spurs until the red card tipped the balance of the game, with Alli stealing in to give Spurs the lead on 61 minutes and Ben Davies adding a second nine minutes later.
As well as losing Lejeune to injury, Paul Dummett was forced off in the opening ten minutes as Newcastle's season got off to an uncomfortable start.
"We have to wait now, it's too early," Benitez said of the injuries. "A couple of weeks, we have to wait."
Benitez would not be drawn on whether he plans to speak with owner Mike Ashley about the club's recruitment plans as the transfer deadline draws nearer.
"I don't know if I will see him," said the Newcastle boss. "I concentrate on my job with my players."