Rafa Benitez defends Newcastle tactics: 'Our fans know why'
Newcastle boss admits club must defend against PL's big spenders: "You are the head of a mouse or tail of a lion."
By James Dale
Last Updated: 28/08/18 3:14pm
Rafa Benitez has defended his pragmatic Newcastle tactics, saying he must adapt his game plans against big-spending opposition.
The Magpies had only 19 per cent of the possession in Sunday's 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea as Benitez - as he had done against the Premier League's big guns last season - adopted an ultra-defensive approach.
Sky Sports' football expert Jamie Redknapp suggested his players would be "embarrassed", while the Monday Night Football panel questioned whether Benitez's more pragmatic approach can still succeed in the Premier League.
But Benitez said: "My job as a manager is to analyse my squad, decide the best tactics against any opponent.
"When you play against the top sides, they have so much possession, they are so good.
"You see the price of any player, a couple of Chelsea's players will be more expensive than any of our last six transfer windows. When you put all these things in context, then you have to decide your game plan.
"Our fans know about our team and why we have to do this. You have the pressure of being the head of a mouse or tail of a lion. When we were in the Championship we were top scorers and conceded less than anyone. A year after, we have to defend.
"You can talk, say whatever you want, but the transfer window always has an impact on your tactics. With the team we have, we are doing well."
Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are all out injured and will miss Newcastle's third-round Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Lascelles was reportedly dropped for the game against Chelsea due to a training ground bust-up and was pictured in the stands at St James' Park.
"The doctor is better than me, we're waiting for results of a scan for Jamaal," said Benitez, when asked when the Newcastle captain will return to the side.
"He came to support the team, I spoke to him before and after the game and three or four times this morning.
"His partner is expecting a baby but everything is fine. I don't know how long he'll be out for."
Tuesday's Super 6
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