Rafa Benitez says it’s time Newcastle adopted an attacking approach in order to try and stay up this season – starting with Saturday’s big home clash against fellow strugglers Southampton.
The Magpies are among a whole host of clubs battling to avoid the drop from the Premier League and sit in 16th place, two points clear of the bottom three with nine games to go.
Last weekend, Newcastle were criticised by some for being too defensive against Liverpool as Benitez set his side up to try and frustrate the Reds at Anfield. The gameplan worked for 40 minutes before Mo Salah struck the opening goal in a 2-0 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but now the Magpies boss says it’s time to attack.
“Obviously Southampton will be different [to the Liverpool game]. We play at home with our fans behind us,” he said. “We have to attack and we have to create chances.”
Benitez says beating sides around them in the table and also in relegation trouble will be key to their survival bid, so he’s well aware just how important the clash against Saints could be.
He added: “Every game is important to us but these types of games against the teams close to us we have to do well in. Every game is important so if you win now everyone says: ‘Fantastic’.
“And then we have more confidence. Maybe you can approach the next games with more confidence and you win more. But if you can’t win you can still win at the end. You can win the last game and be safe. Every game is an opportunity and nothing else.”
Following Saints’ visit to St James’ Park, the Magpies have a two-week break before hosting Huddersfield Town on March 31 and they then go to Leicester on April 7 as the battle for relegation hots up.