Rafael Benitez pinpoints the reason why Newcastle United played poorly against Aston Villa

Newcastle United could only pick up a point in their last match against Aston Villa

Rafael Benitez has told the Sunderland Echo that his Newcastle United side played poorly against Aston Villa as they were too nervous.

Newcastle were expected to go to Villa Park and pick up three points at the weekend, but they badly disappointed with their performance.

The Magpies did not show their best, and they could only pick up a point in a 0-0 draw.

Newcastle rarely created much throughout the match, and Benitez says that nerves got the better of his side.

“I think that we didn’t play well, maybe because we had too much anxiety,” he admitted.

“The players were tense, and we couldn’t do what we wanted.

“There was a better reaction in the second half, and the team was creating some chances, and at least we were getting close to the box and pushing and pushing.

“But when you have so many people defending behind the ball, you cannot find a clear chance. You need to score, but they know that on the counter-attack they can be dangerous.

“In that situation, you have to be very precise, and when you give the ball away, you lose confidence and it becomes quite difficult.

“And when you are under pressure, you make more mistakes.”

Newcastle’s best opportunities came in the second half, with Aleksandar Mitrovic coming closest to breaking the deadlock.

The Serbian had two headed chances, but he failed to convert either and now Newcastle’s survival chances look bleak.

The Magpies can be relegated before they play their next match, if Sunderland are able to beat Everton on Wednesday evening.

Newcastle’s last game of the season comes against Tottenham Hotspur, and they may be required to pick up a victory to have any chance of surviving.

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