Benitez: Newcastle must compete

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United have lost both of their Championship games so far.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has told his Newcastle United players via The Chronicle that it is time they realise the importance of competing this season.

Life in the Championship has proven anything but simple for Newcastle so far after Benitez's side - the pre-season favourites to win the division and with it promotion back to the Premier League - lost both of their first two games.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez and Huddersfield Town's manager David Wagner shake hands at the end of the game.

The Magpies went down 1-0 at Fulham in the curtain-raiser 11 days ago, before losing 2-1 to Huddersfield Town at St James's Park in what has been an eye-opening couple of weeks for the North-East giants.

Benitez has spent the guts of £45 million in an outlay which might yet rise further before the transfer window closes on August 31, and the Spaniard feels it is time for Newcastle to show their teeth in what will be a dogfight for promotion.

They host Reading on Tyneside tomorrow night, and the former Liverpool boss has hinted that changes will be made to his first XI.

Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamaal Lascelles

Asked by The Chronicle if he'll make changes for Wednesday, Benitez said: "Yeah, I think that the players have to realise that we have to compete.

“We have a big squad and we have to compete and be ready for what we know that is a very demanding competition, with us having two games a week."

Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden and Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells in action

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