Rafa Benitez’s brilliant response to criticism of his tactics at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says he’s NOT a defensive manager.

Benitez has defended his tactics in the wake of Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley.

People used to say when I was at Liverpool ‘oh, he’s defensive’. No, we’re not defensive, we’re well-organised.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United created very little at Turf Moor, where they were without influential midfielder Mikel Merino.

Benitez has long been known as a defensively-minded coach.

However, the 57-year-old, determined to take the club as high up the table as he can with the players he has at St James’s Park, disputes that assessment.

“I don’t agree with that,” said Benitez.

“People used to say when I was at Liverpool ‘oh, he’s defensive’. No, we’re not defensive, we’re well-organised. That’s different.

“We attack and we create. We had 12 attempts versus Burnley. But we also defend well. We have good balance and organisation.

“We don’t go away to think about a draw. We always want to win. But it depends on the players that you have.

“Sometimes, with teams in Europe, you see the players coming from the bench costing more than those on the pitch.

“That means they have different tools. We have a team who work together very well.”

Benitez believes a more “attractive” approach would come at a cost – at the other end of the pitch.

And United’s hugely-experienced manager “doesn’t pay attention” to those who say his teams are “boring”.

“If you say ‘you have to be more attractive’, maybe we’d be conceding goals all the time,” said Benitez.

“We have balance. I don’t think we’re a boring team. I don’t pay too much attention to those who say we are.”

Meanwhile, Benitez could keep faith with Joselu up front for this afternoon’s home game against Bournemouth.

Asked about Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic, Benitez said: “They have to be ready.

“As a striker, they have to score goals, but if the team’s winning, I don’t care if it’s the striker or the full-back that’s scoring goals.”