Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benitez Has No Concerns about Toon Going on Defensive Again; BOSS LAYS OUT HIS PLAN TO COMBAT CITY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benitez Has No Concerns about Toon Going on Defensive Again; BOSS LAYS OUT HIS PLAN TO COMBAT CITY

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com @lee_ryder

RAFA Benitez insists Newcastle United need to continue approaching life in the Premier League like they did last season when they delivered a top-10 finish.

With the Spaniard only handed a low budget to bring in new players and forced into dipping into both the free transfer and loan markets, the reality is the Magpies will spend the first half of the campaign battling to stay out of the bottom three.

United have not been helped by an unforgiving opening fixture list which included games with Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Benitez is likely to play with an ultra defensive system against the oil-rich Citizens and will no doubt face more criticism from TV pundits with the way he sets up the team. The last side to play with an attacking system against City was Huddersfield - who lost 6-1. Speaking about his mindset going into the clash at the Etihad Stadium, Benitez told the Chronicle: "I think we have to analyse the situation carefully.

"We know it is not easy to play against City or Chelsea and we know our players better than anybody.

"We are trying to get a result for the club and for the team.

"The way to do it? Of course I would like to play with three strikers and attack them from the beginning and press high.

"However, we have seen a lot of examples of what happens when you try that against City.

"They are really good at counterattacking.

"When you are in the middle of the pitch they can still kill you in the wide areas.

"They have pace, ability and run behind the defenders.

"Anybody who has played as a defender knows what that means."

Benitez is convinced without an array of world-class stars blessed with pace it is almost impossible to beat City in their own backyard.

Manchester United were the only side to triumph in the Premier League at Eastlands last term.

Benitez said: "The only way to stop them is by being very precise in your movements or drop off a little bit. …

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