Rafa Defends Tactics

Rafa Benitez has promised his Newcastle United side will adopt a far-more offensive approach during the crucial relegation clash with Southampton this weekend.

The Spaniard set his Magpies side up in a defensive 5-4-1 formation during the 2-0 defeat at Anfield on Saturday, with United conjuring up just seven efforts on goal and only two on target.

But Benitez accepts Newcastle must attack and create a greater number of opportunities at St James’ Park if they are to record what would be a vital victory over one of their closest relegation rivals.

“Yes,” Benitez replied when asked if Newcastle would need to offer more of a threat against the Saints this weekend.

“It’s obvious they are different teams, different scenarios. So it’s not the same when you play away against one of the top teams in the Premier League than when you play at home against one of the teams in your position more or less.

“This was just to make sure we had good control and then play counter attack. We were not a real threat in the first haf but we were controlling the game so they didn’t have clear chances, just at the end a corner situation – nothing else.

“We were happy with that but we were still not very happy [overall] because we have to create more.

“Obviously Southampton will be different. We play at home with our fans behind us. We have to attack and we have to create chances.

“Obviously every game is important to us but these types of games against the teams close to us we have to do well in.”