Rafa Benitez says Newcastle should have put Aston Villa game to bed
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 24/09/16 11:54pm
Rafa Benitez felt his Newcastle side should have put the game to bed in the first half as they drew with Aston Villa.
He watched on at Villa Park as Newcastle took the lead through a Tommy Elphick own goal, before Aaron Tshibola headed in a late equaliser.
And the Spaniard felt that the win could have been sealed in the first half - had just another of their 18 attempts been on target.
He said: "It is a pity. Sometimes when you play so well in the first half and you have so many chances, you concede a late goal in the way that we conceded.
"Credit to them, they were pushing but I think that we could have finished the game in the first half - even in the second half we had some chances. You give them hope that they can score and they did it."
The two relegated clubs started the season as the runaway favourites for the Sky Bet Championship title, but while the Magpies had won their previous six league games, Villa were enduring a mixed start with four draws and a defeat from the last five.
Benitez felt their opponents were the more offensive in the second half and he says they knew a goal-scoring threat was imminent.
He continued: "When they were pushing and we were defending, we had a lot of balls in the box - it's not easy.
"We knew [an attack was coming] because when you have a big striker who is playing as a winger with pace, it is not easy to stop them.
"We could do a little bit more - as I said they were pushing but still we had two or three counter attacks and we could have finished the game - we have to do better."