Benitez: Increased forward competition will only benefit Newcastle

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Despite a 2-1 loss to Tottenham to open the new campaign, the Magpies boss feels that the side's abundance of attacking talent will prove a blessing

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez believes that the competition between his forward options for a starting berth will spur them on to greater heights this season.

The Magpies got the new Premier League season underway with a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham at St James’ Park but the Spaniard was only focused on taking the positives form his team’s showing.

Benitez opted for veteran striker Joselu over new signings Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto up front to lead his attack against Spurs and saw his faith rewarded with a goal for the former Stoke City man.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the 58-year-old stressed that the multiple options Newcastle have in attack will only stand them in good stead for the upcoming campaign, stating: "When you bring in new players it increases the competition.

"It's always important for the strikers to score. The new players will need some time to understand their team-mates and what we want them to do but at least we have the competition.

"Joselu scored a great goal and that's good for the rest of the season because [the players] will be pushing each other."

Spurs took the lead through Jan Vertonghen’s header inside the first 10 minutes before Newcastle found a quick leveller.

They were unable to muster another equaliser though for Dele Alli’s goal in the 18th minute, despite Salomon Rondon finding the woodwork on his debut late in the second half.

Benitez felt they deserved more than a defeat, adding: "From my point of view, we deserved at least a draw. We were fighting until the end and we had some chances, especially in the second half against a good team.

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"We were pushing them all the way. You could feel the fans had the belief that we could do something, so it was a pity [that we could not]."

The Magpies were forced to finish the game with 10 men after a late injury to DeAndre Yedlin, who was forced to limp off, and Benitez confirmed he was unaware of the significance of the damage yet, adding: "I don't really know. The doctor has to assess the injury. We will need some time to know exactly."

Newcastle next play against newly promoted Cardiff City, who lost 2-0 to Bournemouth earlier today, on August 18.

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