Rafa Benitez believes Harry Kane's challenge was worse than Jonjo Shelvey's stamp in Newcastle's defeat to Tottenham

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle United's return to the Premier League saw them lose 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.

Rafa Benitez has suggested to BBC Sport that Harry Kane was more deserving of a red card than Jonjo Shelvey was during Newcastle's clash with Tottenham on Sunday.

The Magpies' return to the top flight ended in disappointing fashion as Shelvey was dismissed shortly after half-time when the game was goalless, and Spurs took advantage by scoring twice.

Referee Andre Marriner shows a red card to Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United as Robert Elliot of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and...

There can arguably be few complaints about Shelvey seeing red as he needlessly stepped on Dele Alli while the Tottenham midfielder was on the ground - but Benitez felt that a first-half challenge from Kane on summer signing Florian Lejeune was a better candidate for a red card.

"That Harry Kane tackle was worse than this one but I cannot complain about the rules, but I think it's more dangerous and we lost one player for that," he told BBC Sport when asked for his thoughts on Shelvey's dismissal.

Unfortunately for the Magpies, Kane's challenge was the last piece of notable action for the French defender as he had to be taken off with injury.

The Spurs striker was booked for the tackle, as while one of his legs got to the ball, the other left Lejeune tangled up, and now leaves the Magpies keeping their fingers crossed that the problem is not a serious one. 

But while Kane's challenge clearly did more harm, the senselessness of Shelvey's step on Alli will surely leave Benitez just as frustrated as he now faces a suspension.

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur fouls Florian Lejeune of Newcastle United and recives a yellow card during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St....

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch