News. 'Confident' Terriers will pose difficult challenge - Benítez

18 Aug 17

The Terriers – promoted alongside United last term – cruised to a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, in what was their first assignment as a Premier League club.

Newcastle, meanwhile, lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, their cause not helped by two first-half injury setbacks and a red card for Jonjo Shelvey.

The Magpies beat Huddersfield comfortably in March and ended the season 13 points better off, but Benítez expects such statistics to count for little on Sunday.

“They have spent some money and signed around ten players, so they will obviously be a different team to the team of last season,” he said. “They have nothing to lose. It is their first time in the Premier League, and every fan will realise that Newcastle United are a big club that have to be there, while Huddersfield Town and Brighton (& Hove Albion) are fantastic clubs, but if they stay there then everybody will be over the Moon.

“In terms of their approach, we know about that from last season, so (in that sense) it will be very similar. They approached the game (at Crystal Palace) really well – they scored goals, and they were playing with more confidence. But, it is important to understand that the Premier League lasts for nine months – you have to play a lot of games, and at the beginning, football depends on momentum. They are playing with a lot of confidence so it will be even more difficult for us.”

Benítez is hopeful, however, that the Magpies can take heart from their first-half display against Spurs.

There had been little to separate the two sides until Shelvey’s dismissal, which opened the door for last season’s runners-up.

“Obviously, we were disappointed with the result, but the team were doing what we’d practiced during the week,” he said. “The two injuries and the red card changed everything, because with two injuries you couldn’t (make) your substitutions in the second half. But, in terms of effort and what we were trying to do, we were more or less where we wanted to be. Now, we have to improve in some areas to make sure we are stronger.

“We know where we are. The way to move forward is to keep doing our job every day, in every training session, while trying to do something in the market to move players out and move players in. We have to stay calm and keep working hard behind the scenes.”

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