Rafa Benitez
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Benitez bemoans Newcastle’s lack of cutting edge and ‘concentration’

Rafael Benitez was left irritated by Newcastle’s inability to convert their chances in this evening’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham.

The Magpies mustered 17 attempts on the Hammers goal at the London Stadium, although only two of them were on target, as West Ham ran out 2-0 winners thanks to strikes from Declan Rice and Mark Noble.

Rice gave West Ham the lead with a close range header from a Robert Snodgrass corner, before Noble doubled the hosts lead from the penalty spot minutes before the break after Florian Lejeune had hacked down Javier Hernandez in the box.

Speaking after the game, Rafael Benitez bemoaned his side’s mistakes, saying they lacked concentration and cutting edge in front of goal.

“We made our own mistakes, started with a lack of concentration and conceded two set pieces to a good team. We still had 17 attempts and they were a bit lucky with some of their blocks,” Benitez told Sky Sports.

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“The second goal was a free kick that we knew could happen. When they have this quality up front you know you can be punished.

“When you go away and have 17 attempts you have to score at least one goal, but it’s not easy when you are 2-0 down too soon.

“We are where we are, we are doing a lot of good things but we must keep focus and concentration from first to last minute.

“We have to be sure we learn from these mistakes and prepare for next game.”

“We didn’t start well, didn’t do what we have to do at the start,” he added. “We conceded two goals at set pieces that we could have avoided easily. We had attempts in the first and second half, but it’s difficult when you are 2-0 down already and exposed in the counter attack.

“We were analysing set pieces, knew what could happen but we made mistakes. We must learn for the future, starting against Everton.

“The reality is we were doing well away, then we have good games at home. The disappointment comes from that, today we started very poorly.”

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