Rafa Benitez keen to take positives after Newcastle defeat at Leicester
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 15/03/16 7:17am
Rafa Benitez says he will take the positives after his first match in charge of Newcastle ended in a 1-0 defeat to Leicester on Monday Night Football.
Shinji Okazaki's first-half overhead kick at the King Power Stadium was enough to send the Foxes five points clear at the top of the Premier League, while Newcastle remain second bottom with 24 points from 29 games.
The visitors started the game on top as Ayoze Perez squandered a presentable opening but they were soon punished by the league leaders, and Benitez admitted he was disappointed with the goal his side conceded.
"I'm not happy [with the goal] because the ball bounced too many times and it is something we have to analyse," Benitez said.
"But I want to think about the positives because the team reacted well in the second half and we were pushing. That's the positive thing for me. We need to analyse and improve.
"It was a pity because we started really well and had two good chances. After 20 minutes they started pushing and when they scored they had the game they like to play on the counter-attack.
"We had to close it down but they are fast and aggressive on the counter. We still had chances at the end of the game, like with Moussa Sissoko. We could have had a goal against a good team, because they play with a good tempo."
Jamie Vardy appeared to be in an offside position when he nodded across goal for Okazaki to acrobatically volley home, but Benitez was keen to focus on what his team did well at the King Power Stadium.
"Normally I don't analyse these things because I can't change anything," he added. "We were creating chances and had good team spirit, everything was there and now we have to correct the little things.
"The team was doing well and you could see the commitment and passion in the players.
"I am happy with the players that came from the bench as well, they were trying everything. It was a pity that we couldn't win, but the team showed they are convinced they could win."
They remain one point behind Sunderland and Norwich in the battle for survival, with the Black Cats up next in the Tyne-Wear derby, live on Sky Sports next Sunday.
And Benitez appealed to the Newcastle supporters to get behind his team as they search for the win that could take them out of the relegation zone.
"Every game will be important for us," he continued. "We know it is a derby and we know how important it will be for everyone but I have the feeling our fans are really good and they know they are our No 12. We need them for the next game.
"We will train tomorrow and try to recover the players as soon as possible, and have one day off before we start working again. They need to rest and work hard, so we will manage the week's workload.
On his first impressions of Newcastle, Benitez added: "I like the people, the staff, everybody is trying to help. The fans, the city, everybody is behind the team.
"Everything is positive and now we have to give them what they expect on the pitch. We cannot change this result but we can be happy in terms of the commitment of the players and we have to approach the next one with this in our head."