Sports News of Wednesday, 31 October 2018
Newcastle United coach Rafael Benitez says midfielder Christian Atsu and other fringe players at the club including Jacob Murphy, Isaac Hayden and Ki Sung-yueng must improve on their performance to give him more options following the club’s poor run in the Premier League this season.
After ten games, the North East-based side is without a win, equaling their worst start in the Premier League since the 1998 / 99 season but with Watford and AFC Bournmouth visiting St. James’ Park in the next two games, the former Real Madrid boss wants a reaction.
“I want them to perform on the pitch and in training to put me under more pressure. It’s what we have to do,” Benitez told ChronicleLive.
“I told [Atsu and] the other players on the bench to put me under more pressure. I want them to push me harder.
“We analyse things but also sometimes when you are making radical changes, it’s because everything is wrong. I don’t accept it’s all wrong. “Yes we are losing but we have been very, very close in a lot of games,” he added.
The Magpies currently sit one place above the foot of the table with only three points but Benitez is still confident they can beat the drop after the season.
“We have to stay calm,” said the Spaniard.
“We have to give confidence to the players and give confidence to the fans by reminding them that we did it last year. We have to carry on working hard.”
Atsu was a second-half substitute in Newcastle’s goalless draw with Southampton last weekend. He has made six league appearances in total, lasting 186 minutes.