Rafa Benitez knows most teams aren’t going to find three points when two backs go down in the first half against a superior team.
He also knows that Jonjo Shelvey‘s red card was deserved, and that Spurs picked up a deserved win after Newcastle held them without real danger for 50 minutes.
That’s where the understanding ends for Benitez, who saw big summer signing Florian Lejeune scythed down by a Harry Kane scissor kick and just a yellow card shown. Lejeune left the game, joining left back Paul Dummett as players needing first half subs.
“It was difficult from the beginning. We had to adapt things [after injuries]. The red card changed everything. I think we were defending well. We have to improve. We had our chances but we missed them.”
“The Harry Kane tackle was worse than this one. It’s more dangerous. We lost one player from that. We made a mistake, but I think maybe someone has to analyse these things to see what’s more dangerous.”
Let’s be clear, Kane’s ugly tackle — easily a yellow card — wasn’t worse than Shelvey walking on Dele Alli‘s achilles tendon. But Benitez is right to feel aggrieved when Newcastle lost a major player on an unseemly tackle, and we’re sure he’s raging at Shelvey for ruining what looked like it could be a scoreless draw and welcome point from the Magpies’ Premier League return.