Newcastle were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea at home on Sunday.

The Magpies were minutes away from securing their second consecutive Premier League draw.

But a late own goal from DeAndre Yedlin handed the visitors all three points.

Benitez came in for criticism for not trying to win the game against Chelsea, who dominated the ball at St. James’ Park. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Some felt as though Rafa Benitez’s tactics on Sunday were worthy of criticism.

Some accused him of being negative and ‘parking the bus’ in a bid to get a result.

The criticism is unwarranted

The Spaniard was harshly treated in the aftermath of last weekend’s match.

Benitez clearly felt as though Chelsea were susceptible to the counter – and they are – and that is how he set up.

It is not as though Newcastle set up to defend with their backs against the wall every single week.

 

Newcastle had a go against Tottenham and played well; on another day, they might have come away with a point.

Benitez tried something he doesn’t do every week. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

The Magpies do not have a squad oozing with top quality players, so Benitez has to use his smarts and work with what he’s got to yield positive results.

It’s also worth remembering that Newcastle were actually a bit unlucky with the penalty decision, too.

On another day, Newcastle might have got that one in their favour and it could have been a draw – and no one would be having a pop.

Chelsea’s part in all of this

Chelsea absolutely dominated possession at St. James’ Park and that should come as a surprise to no one.

The Blues completely controlled the play against Huddersfield and Arsenal, too.

Sarri’s Chelsea are looking like a great side. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

They look like a great attacking machine under Maurizio Sarri, and it’s only a matter of time until they completely dismantle another team this season.

They’re going to be up there challenging for the top four and perhaps even the league title.

Benitez tried to get a result, and it almost paid off. Perhaps it will work against another top six side.

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