Benitez: Newcastle needs to improve attack quality

Martin Rickett/PA via AP

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez says his team worked hard enough to get a win over Burnley, but sloppiness and a lack of quality in the final third subverted his hopes for three points.

“It was a game we were controlling,” Benitez said. “We knew that scoring one goal we could win, and one goal we could lose. We made a mistake.”

[ RECAP: Burnley 1-0 Newcastle ]

Jeff Hendrick‘s 74th minute goal gave the Clarets seventh place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win, while Newcastle sinks ninth.

Benitez believes they did enough tactically to win, but the clinical finish was not provided by Joselu or substitute Dwight Gayle. Is it January yet?

“We had 12 attempts away, nine in the second half, so we were trying to go for a win. We were not very precise on the ball,” Benitez said.

“We know our strengths and weaknesses. We have to improve in everything, but I’m still happy with the work rate of the players and the way they are approaching the game but sometimes it’s something you lack that can make the difference.”

Newcastle hosts Bournemouth next weekend in a match that could see them reassert its comfortable standing on the table, or drop back toward the relegation pack.

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