Newcastle United boss defends conservative tactics versus Chelsea

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has defended his conservative tactics during the recent league meeting versus Chelsea. The Magpies lined up in a 5-4-1 formation during the game and they nearly secured a draw despite commanding less than one-fifth of the overall possession at St James Park.

Speaking after the match, Benitez was appreciative of the efforts of the squad and stressed that he would have welcomed a more open encounter, had he possessed a player of Eden Hazard’s attributes, he said:  “It depends on the players you have. If I had [Eden] Hazard I would give it to him and he would make the difference. We know that we can be better with the ball, but I think we did well until the end.”

With the defeat, the Magpies have managed just a point from their first three matches but they should have at least picked up a victory, had Kenedy scored from the penalty spot against Cardiff City. Next up, the Magpies have a League Cup tie against Nottingham Forest in midweek but thereafter they can expect another tough challenge with Manchester City and Arsenal to face on either side of the international break.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have made a positive start under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri and they have accumulated the perfect tally of nine points after the first three games of the season. The defensive organisation has been a concern with just one clean sheet but overall, the fans should be content after making the perfect start to the top-flight campaign.

The Blues are scheduled to take on Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in their next league meeting and they should be up for revenge after being outplayed by Eddie Howe’s side during the same fixture last term. The Cherries secured a shock 3-0 triumph at the Bridge in the last encounter in January.

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