Rafael Benitez said that his Newcastle team were simply not strong enough to compete in what seems like a clear message to club owner Mike Ashley after the Magpies were dumped out of the FA Cup by Watford.
Newcastle are yet to make a signing in the January transfer window after they confirmed that they had pulled out of a deal to sign Jordan Lukaku from Lazio.
Second-half goals from Watford attackers Andre Gray and Isaac Success secured the Hornets passage to the fifth round, a stage of the competition that Newcastle haven’t seen in 13 years.
With the Magpies still fighting to maintain their Premier League status, Benitez threw in a few of his side’s fringe players for today’s FA Cup clash at St. James’ Park, and speaking after the game, the Spaniard admitted that the team he put out was not good enough.
“Obviously we are disappointed. We made a couple of mistakes and conceded two goals in a game that was even and could have gone either way,” the Spaniard told the BBC.
“You have to create chances to score goals. But in this game you cannot say we were much worse than them. We just have to realise that we cannot go through with this team, it means we have to now concentrate on the league.
“We have 15 games now to play and we have to be sure everyone is focused and no distractions.”