Benitez: Newcastle must improve quickly

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has urged his team to pull together and keep working hard to improve as they continue their fight against relegation.

The Magpies suffered a painful defeat at home on Saturday when an unfortunate own goal from Ayoze Perez in the 86th minute gave Leicester City a 3-2 victory.

Joselu put Newcastle in front, but Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray gave the Foxes the lead. Dwight Gayle levelled matters before the late winner.

“What I said before and I will say it again, the only way is for players, supporters, staff and everyone to stick together,” said Benitez, according to the Sunderland Echo. “It’s not the time to make excuses. It’s the time to analyse what’s going on and improve – quickly.”

? Here’s what greeted the teams at St. James’ Park a little earlier. #NUFC #125YearsUnited

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Newcastle were as high as fourth in the Premier League standings at the end of September, but they have since lost six out of seven games and now sit in 16th position.

When asked if the Magpies can avoid relegation, Benitez said “yes, for sure. I think we can do it, but it depends on the other teams.

“I think the supporters appreciate it (the effort), but it’s difficult, when you lose another game, to try and explain everything.

“But this team’s working so hard – it’s trying so hard to win games.

“We’re reacting in the right way when things are going wrong, but we have to learn to manage the situation. We’re still making a lot of mistakes, and it’s quite difficult for everybody. All we can do is keep working harder.”