This may partly explain his failure in tracking back to defend what would turn out to be City’s winning goal. A Sterling run down the left hand side opened up the play, with Agüero’s touch setting up Kyle Walker’s devastating strike from long range.
Kenedy was removed from the field moments later and replaced by Christian Atsu. According to Tyneside newspaper ChronicleLive, Benitez revealed: “He [Kenedy] had a headache.”
Benitez, however, was extremely supportive of his players, explaining that he had 'to be optimistic, but at the same time, realistic.'
He added: “We knew it could be difficult at the beginning, so we have to carry on.
“The positive thing is you could see the players working really hard for each other.
“The negative thing is that we have to improve on the ball to be sure that we can score some goals and get better results.”
Although Newcastle have now sunk into the relegation zone, the manager remained unfazed by the Magpies' early predicament - particularly if the team can replicate their battling efforts against less tough opposition.
Benitez added: “We cannot be watching the table, it is too early. The main thing is the performance. We are not too far away, as soon as you start with a couple of victories you can go up.”