By 90Min
August 27, 2018

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has defended his decision to set up defensively in their 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, stating that he can only use what he has at his disposal in order to try to achieve victory. 

The Magpies only had a staggering 19 per cent possession of the ball in front of a surprised St James' Park crowd as a late own goal consigned Benitez's side to a second loss in three games, after a Joselu header had cancelled out Eden Hazard's second-half penalty.

And the Spaniard, who set his side up to play in a 5-4-1 formation on Sunday afternoon, claimed that the statistics don't mean anything anymore in football in order to justify his defensive manner despite being at home.

"A long time ago, Barcelona had 80 per cent against 20 per cent against Celtic and they lost the game, the stats are just for the TV," said Benitez on Sunday after the game.

"Saturday at WolvesMan City had 71 per cent possession and didn't win. You have to do what you have to do, and we were nearly there, very close. I don't remember Chelsea making too many chances in the second half."

Stu Forster/GettyImages

The former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager came into the season very worried about his club's transfer business over the summer, and suggested that the lack of top talent at Newcastle forced his hands with regards to his tactics on Sunday.

"You have to drive the car that you have. When I was at Liverpool we beat Real Madrid 4-0 at home, we were offensive. When I was at Napoli, I was offensive, attacking all the time. I would like to play with five strikers if I could.

Stu Forster/GettyImages

"When I am at Newcastle United I have to manage what I have."

Benitez may be forced to replicate that defensive manner once again next weekend, as the north east club's next game is against Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. 

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)