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Benitez disappointed by profligate Newcastle

Rafael Benitez refused to rule Newcastle United out of the Premier League survival race but admitted his disappointment at their failure to beat Aston Villa on Saturday.

The goalless draw, combined with Sunderland’s stirring 3-2 victory at home to Chelsea, saw Newcastle slip back into the relegation zone and a win for the Black Cats at home to Everton on Wednesday would relegate Benitez’s men to the Championship.

Their fate is now out of their hands and a downcast Benitez cut a frustrated figure.

He said: “We are disappointed. We now have to wait, see what they do during the week and then try to win our game.

“We were a little bit anxious in the first half. We were not comfortable in possession. In the second half, we had some good chances but you need to take them and we didn’t do that.

“We had to change things in the second half. We did that, but it was not enough. The players are disappointed.

“It was an opportunity to stay ahead of Sunderland and we couldn’t do it.

“But you cannot change things, just analyse what you’ve done and be sure that you are right if it goes to the last game.”

Aleksandar Mitrovic, a second-half replacement for the ineffective Papiss Cisse, also lamented the Magpies’ wastefulness in front of goal against already-relegated Villa.

He said: “We had our chances but we didn’t score. It’s a bad result for us.

“I should have scored but I didn’t. I didn’t follow the game but I think Sunderland had very good news.

“We need to win our game and wait to see what they do. We’ll see.

“They [Villa] were so defensive, they didn’t want to score goals. I don’t know why they played like this but we had our chances and should have won the game.

“We still have a chance.”

Sat 7 May, 2016
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