Benitez takes positives from debut loss, players “are convinced they can win”

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Rafa Benitez‘s Newcastle United players will feel a bit unlucky to not have taken a point from King Power Stadium on Monday, but the manager himself is feeling pretty good despite the loss.

Leicester used a bicycle kick from Shinji Okazaki to take the lead, the held on for dear life as Newcastle pressed for the goal that would pull them level on points with relegation rivals Sunderland and Norwich.

[ MORE: Match recap | Watch Okazaki’s goal | Drinkwater on “ugly” W ]

And when Wes Morgan‘s late handball in the box went uncalled, Newcastle players like Jack Colback labeled themselves dejected and unlucky.

Rafa, however, is feeling alright.

From the BBC:

“I will take the positives – we did well, you could see the commitment and the passion. There were a lot of positives and the team showed that they are convinced they can win. Every game will be important for us.

“We know our next game against Sunderland is a derby and it will be important for everyone but I have a feeling the fans are really good and they are the number 12 for the next game. We have plenty of things to do and they need to rest and work hard.”

The Magpies start the most important fortnight of the season Tuesday, with a Tyne-Wear Derby at home to Sunderland on Sunday before the trip to Norwich City. Win those, and Newcastle will be a minimum of two points above both.

Benitez’s Newcastle looked better than Steve McClaren‘s for at least one night. Sunday will go a long way to showing whether that was a one-off or the new norm.