Friday 28 July 2017

Rafael Benitez unimpressed with length of time added on

Rafael Benitez (left) was unhappy after Newcastle conceded a late equaliser at home to Leeds
Rafael Benitez (left) was unhappy after Newcastle conceded a late equaliser at home to Leeds

Rafael Benitez was not a happy man after seeing Leeds dent Newcastle's charge back towards the Premier League with a last-gasp equaliser.

The Magpies looked to be sitting on the brink of promotion with the clock ticking around to the fifth minute of added time when Chris Wood prodded home his 25th goal of the Sky Bet Championship season to cancel out Jamaal Lascelles' 67th-minute header and snatch a 1-1 draw at St James' Park.

Benitez appeared to be unhappy with the addition of a minimum of five minutes by the officials despite the fact that there were six second-half substitutions, and his mood was not improved by a series of earlier decisions and a pitch invader who help up proceedings as he tried to shake hands with Leeds players shortly before Wood's strike.

He said: "I'm pleased with the performance of the team, the commitment, the passion, the effort, the way that we played, the chances that we had.

"I'm disappointed because we made a mistake at the end - and when I say at the end, 95 minutes.

"It's very difficult to understand for me why we have a penalty the other day [against Burton] and [the game is stopped for] seven minutes and they gave three minutes, and today 95 minutes.

"I don't understand a lot of things in the last games."

The second-placed Magpies, who started the game five points behind leaders Brighton and seven ahead of Huddersfield in third, saw two precious points and the chance to secure promotion at Ipswich on Monday, slip away.

However, Benitez is confident their fate remains in their own hands.

He said: "For us, it's the same situation: we have to keep winning our games and that's it."

Leeds boss Garry Monk admitted his side, for whom keeper Rob Green made a string of fine saves, had been second-best, but was delighted with its resilience.

When it was put to him that the game might have been stopped if it was a boxing match, he said: "We must have a granite chin.

"No look, when you get an equaliser in that fashion at the end of a game like that, it always feels much better in one changing room than the other, and of course it felt good in our changing room.

"But we showed the other side, we showed what a mentality and spirit we have and a determination to never give up and fight to the end, and that's what got them the goal."

Press Association

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