Rafa Benitez reacts to criticism of his Newcastle players

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"We just have to be sure we have the options and see if they are possible because sometimes January is very hard".

The Newcastle manager wants to strengthen a squad which has been found wanting in the first half of the Premier League campaign.

Newcastle United lost 1-0 at Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

Arsenal took the lead in the 23rd minute thanks to a sublime volley from midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Saturday's result also left Benitez without a victory away at Arsenal in seven attempts, but it was not for the want of trying, according to the Spaniard, who blamed misfortune for the defeat. "We were pushing and working so hard, especially in the second half".

"That's just the start of what's to come for us", he said.

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"We are a team that came from the Championship and where we are now could be expected".

Asked if he would celebrate Christmas with his staff, manager Rafael Benitez said: "Normally we will not do it, and the players have also made a decision to cancel their Christmas party because they have taken responsibility and they think it's important to focus on football".

Now, my math lets me down at times, but as per my calculations, that's an astonishing tally of 89 shots in the last 4 games, with just 3 of them finding the net.

"We'll see if we can progress this discussion in a few days. We must stay calm". "I think it's a very good thing from them". We are a young team and when you are not winning you lose confidence, so we have to keep working this way.

"There aren't too many options with Premier League experience, with the maximum level and the right personality, so it's not easy, but you have to do your research everywhere". I was asking four or five players about it and they were very clear, 'Oh no, we can not and that was it.

"We were signing players for 200,000 Euros, some of them, and some of the top sides were playing £5million for players of the same age".