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Rafa Demands An Instant Reaction

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez says his side must be ready "mentally, physically, technically and tactically" for their next game following defeat at Norwich

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Rafa Benitez has told his Newcastle United players that they must "react quickly" to Saturday's late, late loss at Norwich City.

Despite Aleksandar Mitrovic's second-half brace, a stoppage time strike from Martin Olsson consigned the Magpies to defeat at Carrow Road.

The result leaves Newcastle six points from safety and Benitez knows United are running out of time to preserve their Barclays Premier League status.

But the former Real Madrid manager was encouraged his side's second-half showing in East Anglia and wants more of the same at Southampton next weekend.

"I think everybody has to be disappointed," Benitez told nufcTV. "In the first half, we conceded a late goal and we thought it would be very difficult but we scored our goal, we were pushing, we conceded another goal - but still, the reaction of the team was positive.

"And to concede the last one in the last minute is something we have to accept can happen when a team has no confidence and is at the bottom of the table.

"But we have to react and we have to react quickly because we don't have too much time.

"We have seven games to play. I said before that it would be difficult and that is the only way for us: to believe that we can do it, to work hard during the week and prepare for the game to try to get three points against Southampton."

Benitez admitted that Newcastle didn't play well in the opening 45 minutes and that they appeared nervous and anxious.

Timm Klose's header on the stroke of half time was a big blow but United equalised through Mitrovic. Then Dieumerci Mbokani's piledriver was cancelled out by an 86th-minute Mitrovic penalty - only for Olsson to drill home the decisive goal with just seconds remaining.

"The reaction of the team in the second half was really pleasing," Benitez said. "At 2-2, I thought that we could win the game but (we made) another mistake, another goal conceded that maybe we could avoid.

"But this is what we have at the moment and we have to be ready for the next one. We cannot be complaining too much after the game, it's just what happened and we have to prepare for the next one as soon as possible.

"Mentally, physically, technically and tactically, we have to be ready."

He added: "We knew it could be very difficult if we lose here, but now we have to concentrate on the other games.

"We have seven games, 21 points (to play for), and we have to get as many as we can."

You can watch the full nufcTV interview with Rafa Benitez here