By Danny Wright

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has admitted that he wasn’t concerned about mistakes made in the first half of his team’s 2-2 draw with Norwich on Tuesday.

The Magpies took the lead in just 23 seconds when Ayoze Perez scored an early opener. However, after a Jacob Murphy equaliser, a massive mistake by Karl Darlow allowed Cameron Jerome to walk the ball into an empty net.

Speaking to the Shields Gazette, Benitez explained what he said at half-time: “I didn’t have to lift them, I just told them to forget about their mistakes and concentrate on the next 45 minutes because we were doing well and we could win the game.”

Benitez’ laid-back attitude appeared to have worked when Jamaal Lascelles scored a late equaliser for Newcastle to keep them top of the Championship table.

His side are one point ahead of second-placed Brighton who have 65 points.

The pair appear to have been in a league of their own for most of the season, however a win for third-placed Huddersfield last night means they’re now only four points behind Brighton.

“I told them the past had gone, and they just had to concentrate on what was still to come. We did well,” Benitez added in the Shields Gazette.

“We have not had too many games where we have made mistakes like that, so that is why you cannot be too worried about them.

“I thought we deserved to win, it is just a shame that we made the mistakes to let the other team score.”

Benitez will now be hoping that his side can produce an error-free performance in their next league encounter when they take on struggling Aston Villa in the Championship next Monday.

In other Newcastle news, fans react on Twitter to Darlow’s mistake.

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