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'Soft penalty hurt us, but we stayed in the game'.

RAFA Benitez says he was pleased his side managed one of their main objectives against Manchester City - to simply stay in the game at the Etihad Stadium.

The Magpies avoided a hammering at the hands of the Premier League leaders and Benitez was satisfied with his team's reaction after going 2-0 down.

After the game Benitez told BBC Match of the Day: "I think that we wanted to stay in the game and we did it, the penalty was a bit soft and it changed everything.

"After we score we had a couple of chances.

"They are a very good team, our reaction was quite good.

"We changed at the end and played with four at the back, the idea was to stay solid and try to regain and play counter attack.

"At the beginning we were giving the ball away easily.

"To find the balance between defending and attacking is what we were trying to do."

Benitez encouraged his players after the game, and knows another tough game at Chelsea in the FA Cup next weekend.

He said: "I have been praising the players the whole season in terms of effort, sometimes it's a bit of luck.

"If you have a little bit of luck you can be ahead in some games.

"It's the Premier League, everyone is spending a lot of money, that is why we expect something in this window.

"Hopefully we can see some new faces before the end of this window."

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Rafa Benitez

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2018
Words:250
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