Rafa Benitez says Newcastle must learn how to draw games

Rafa Benitez last night
Rafa Benitez last night

Rafa Benitez refused to make excuses after Newcastle United suffered a sixth Championship defeat.

A second-half goal from Glenn Loovens gave Sheffield Wednesday a hard-fought 1-0 win at St James’s Park last night.

Four defeats at home is not ideal for us and we know that we have to be better.

The result, a fourth home loss for the league leaders, leaves the club just a point ahead of second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion, who have a game in hand.

Benitez was unhappy at some first-half decisions from referee Paul Tierney.

But United’s manager did not hit out at the official after the game.

Instead, Benitez said his team must “learn how to draw” in the second half of the season.

“We were not very happy with some decisions, but I cannot make any excuse,” said Benitez.

“Four defeats at home is not ideal for us and we know that we have to be better.

“We have to learn how to draw sometimes, and maybe if we learn that we can have a better second half of the season.

“Instead of just thinking that we have to win every game, we have to learn that sometimes you might not be able to win every game.

“We seem to think that is what we have to do, but if you cannot win it, maybe you can draw it

“We need to understand that when we don’t win, sometimes we can draw and maybe.”

Benitez had pinpointed sixth-placed Wednesday as a team to watch in the second half of the campaign before the match.

“I think I was proved right when I said before the match that this would be a tough game for us against a good team,” said Benitez.

Earlier yesterday, Reading maintained their automatic promotion push with a 3-1 victory over Norwich.

The Royals went ahead when Yann Kermorgant rose highest to head in Liam Kelly’s 37th-minute free-kick, but Nelson Oliveira equalised on the hour.

Norwich went down to 10 men eight minutes later when Jonny Howson handballed on the line and, although Kermorgant hit the crossbar with the resulting penalty, Garath McCleary headed in the rebound.

Callum Harriott then added a third in stoppage time as Reading cut the gap on Brighton to five points to inflict an eighth defeat in 10 Championship games for Neil’s beleaguered side.