Newcastle United were beaten 3-1 by Southampton in their latest outing.
Newcastle left themselves with an uphill task on the south coast, after falling 2-0 down in first half of the contest.
The Magpies were simply not at the races for the opening stages of the match, and goals from Shane Long and Graziano Pelle gave them a huge mountain to climb in the second period.
Although Newcastle did improve as the game progressed, another goal from Victor Wanyama sealed the three points from Ronald Koeman’s side, before Andros Townsend netted a late consolation.
And Benitez said: “I told them the performance in the first half was not acceptable. We needed to start with commitment and character, we had to change players, try to change something. It was obvious we couldn’t win with this mentality.”
Newcastle are now in serious danger of being relegated, with the North East side currently sitting six points adrift of safety.
Benitez has been in charge for four matches so far, but he has failed to spark the Magpies into life and they now look set for the drop.
Newcastle’s next match comes against Swansea City, and any result other than a victory would be a disaster for Benitez’s side.