By 90Min
December 28, 2017

Rafael Benitez has defended his team's tactics after Newcastle parked the bus for a majority of their 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday night.

Newcastle had six shots to City's 21, and had only 22% of possession as fans and pundits were unhappy with the Toon Army getting everyone behind the ball straight from the first whistle. 

Raheem Sterling's first half strike was enough to send the visitors 15 points clear at the top, whilst Newcastle suffered their fifth straight home loss.

Benitez, however, defended his team's negative display, telling Sky Sports: I think we knew it was a difficult game, and we needed to work really hard to get something. It was a pity we conceded and I thought we could have done better."

He went on to add: "We have seen a lot of games where teams were pressing high and still City scored four goals, so it was a question of staying in the game until the end." Benitez also said: "You were expecting that they would have the ball and we would have to counter-attack, and we did it well for a while."

The Spaniard did clearly feel his team's approach worked well in the first half, only criticising their inability to keep the ball for long periods. He said: "I am really pleased with the team in terms of organisation and work-rate, but disappointed because we could have been better on the ball in the first half."

The defeat leaves Newcastle 15th in the table ahead of the weekend's vital home game with Brighton.

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