Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez won't blame keeper for cup agony

Rafa Benitez refused to blame Matz Sels for Newcastle United's EFL Cup defeat.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:51 am
Jonjo Shelvey reacts after his penalty miss last night
Jonjo Shelvey reacts after his penalty miss last night

Benitez’s side were knocked out after a penalty shootout at the KCOM Stadium last night.

Ten-man Hull City came from behind to draw 1-1 with Newcastle thanks to a mistake from Sels, recalled to the starting XI by Benitez.

Mohamed Diame gave United the lead in the 98th minute.

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But Hull were level a minute later. Sels, signed from Gent in the summer, parried a shot from Markus Henriksen and Robert Snodgrass seized on the loose ball.

Benitez, however, was most frustrated that his team hadn’t taken their first-half chances – or been able to take advantage of their extra man following the 89th-minute dismissal of Dieumerci Mbokani.

Asked about Sels’ performance, Newcastle manager Benitez said: “I don’t want to talk about the goalkeeper – the team as a team made mistakes.

“That is what allowed them to score. It is not about the keeper – it was the midfielders, the defenders, everyone. We allowed them to get to a position where they should not have been.”

Benitez must now pick up the Championship leaders, beaten by Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, for Friday night’s game against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

“When you are winning so many games, every time you have a defeat or a bad result, people will talk and ask questions,” he said.

“Now, we will see what will happen. But it was a long season before this week, and it will be a long season after this week.

“We still have to carry on working hard and doing things in the same way.

“We had five or six chances in the first half where we could have scored, and we played really well against a Premier League team.

“The game was different in the second half, they were pushing, but still we were defending and doing well.

“In extra-time, we had the control, but we made one or two mistakes and that is something we have to do better.

“To concede the goal in the way we conceded, and to allow them to counter-attack in the way they did, is something we have to manage and improve.”

Eldin Jakupovic was 10-man Hull’s hero, keeping out Jonjo Shelvey’s spot-kick and also saving from Yoan Gouffran, while Dwight Gayle’s effort hit the crossbar.

Hull trio Robert Snodgrass, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone all converted their penalties to secure Mike Phelan’s side an unlikely passage into the last four of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.

Newcastle looked to have earned themselves a deserved win in extra time when Mo Diame scored against his former club, but Snodgrass levelled within a minute for the Tigers, who had Dieumerci Mbokani sent off in the 89th minute.