One statistic from Rafa Benitez's first game in charge of Newcastle that will need to improve

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle didn't perform badly, but will have wanted more in the final third.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez will have seen some positives in his first game in charge of the side as they were defeated by Leicester City 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

The result means that his side remain in the thick of the relegation battle - one point adrift of safety - ahead of a crucial derby match against Sunderland next weekend.

There is no disgrace in the manner of their performance, and certainly no disgrace in losing by the odd goal to the side that cemented their position at the top of the table, with the Foxes five points clear with just eight games remaining. 

Of course, there are areas to work on, and the final third is one of them, as shown by the statistic below:

  Ontarget Scoring AttTotal Scoring AttAppearances
Newcastle 2 13 1

There were a couple of instances when Newcastle got themselves into decent openings but their play didn't look joined up. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Moussa Sissoko got in each other's way having created an opening in the first half when one of them would've had a great opportunity to draw the side level in the first half.

Another instance in the second half was when Sissoko failed to find his man when he created an opening. He had three other players lining up but the final ball was lacking.

The statistic of two shots on target from 13 attempts illustrates the kind of clinical edge the side needs to develop in the coming weeks if they are to secure their survival in the top flight.

Their opponents had the one shot on target from 10 attempts but they managed to find the crucial goal - if it takes a side to score a spectacular goal against you to win the game then the chances are the defence isn't doing an awful lot wrong.

Their confidence on the ball didn't seem too low either. Though there are positives, the key to staying up will be in the final third, and being that bit more clinical could be the difference between staying up and going down. 

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