Feb 11, 2018 at 2.15pm UK at ​St James' Park
Attendance: 52,309
NewcastleNewcastle United
Man UtdManchester United
Ritchie (65')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Smalling (64'), Valencia (88')

Rafael Benitez not afraid to go defensive against Manchester United

Rafael Benitez not afraid to go defensive
© SilverHub
Rafael Benitez insists that he is not afraid to use the same style of tactics deployed against Manchester City when Newcastle United face Manchester United this weekend.

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has suggested that he is prepared to copy the overly-defensive tactics used against Manchester City last month in this weekend's meeting with fellow big boys Manchester United.

The 57-year-old's gameplan was called into question following December's 1-0 defeat to Man City at St James' Park, which was followed up by a 3-1 loss against the same opponents less than a month later.

City dominated possession in both games as Newcastle opted to sit back but, ahead of Sunday's home match against Man United, Benitez has once again defended his decision to take a cautious approach.

"I was watching the TV and they were analysing the tactics of Huddersfield. But I have seen Burnley, West Ham, Stoke, Leicester - a lot of teams playing defensive against Manchester City," he told the assembled press at his weekly press conference.

"It's what you have to do when they have 80% possession. The tactics have to be right depending on your team and depending on the other team."

Asked if he would be afraid to use the same tactics again, Benitez responded: "No. Why? I have seen a lot of teams playing with the [defensive] line on the penalty spot and the midfielders on the edge of the box, and they were doing a fantastic job.

"It depends how the pundits want to analyse the game. We are not a defensive team - we are a team that has to defend. That is different."

Newcastle have won just twice in 28 Premier League meetings with Man United, most recently at home in 2012.

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