Rafael Benitez is growing frustrated with Newcastle making easy mistakes, warning ‘it’s not the Championship’.
Newcastle have suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats by Burnley and Bournemouth to drop to 11th in the table after winning one of their last six Premier League games.
Benitez had led the club to the Championship title last season and is demanding improvement from his players ahead of a trip to Manchester United after the international break.
“We have to learn quickly what it means in the Premier League and what it means to make mistakes. It’s not like in the Championship when you make mistakes and you can win. If you make a mistake, you pay for that,” Benitez is quoted in the Shields Gazette.
“We have to learn what we have to do and how to react if something is right or if something is wrong.”
Following wins over West Ham, Swansea and Stoke earlier in the season, Newcastle have struggled in recent weeks and Benitez wants greater focus from his players after Bournemouth scored their winner in injury-time at St James’ Park on Saturday.
“It seemed that we were learning quickly, but now we are making mistakes and paying for that,” Benitez said.
“We have to be sure we’re more focused and concentrate, especially in the last minutes of a game. We have to keep working hard.”
Benitez changed tactics for the game against Bournemouth by switching from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 after pairing Dwight Gayle and summer signing Joselu together for the first time.
Last season’s Championship top scorer Gayle had not featured in the starting XI since the second matchday and Benitez said: “He was training well.
“I was trying to find different ways to approach the game and attack.”