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17th Aug, 2016 | 6:00pm

Benitez shares Newcastle tactical masterplan

By Dominic Toner

Rafa Benitez has revealed Newcastle’s tactical masterplan to break down defensively solid teams.

Newcastle were installed as pre-season favourites by most bookmakers to secure an automatic return to the Premier League but have struggled so far in the Championship.

The Magpies have lost their first two league games against Huddersfield and Fulham and progressed only on penalties against League One side Fleetwood in the EFL first-round.

Benitez has revealed that his side will have to get used to facing resilient opposition but his team must be more smart with the ball.

“We know that we will have teams waiting and playing counter attack,” Benitez told the Chronicle. “Especially at home, so we know that the Championship is quite difficult and it’s not a surprise to see teams defending like this. They’ll all play counter attack.

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“We have to move the ball quicker and beat players in the wide areas. We don’t have the target man so we can’t play long balls all the time then see what happens. We can change our style if necessary depending on what players we have on the pitch.”

Newcastle enjoyed a huge 65 per cent possession in their last league game against Huddersfield but suffered late heartache as Jack Payne scored an 82nd minute winner.

The Huddersfield manager David Wagner still believes that Newcastle will recover from their poor start and win the division.

They have outspent all of their Championship rivals in this transfer window by recruiting a host of Premier League players, with pair Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie costing a combined £22million.

Newcastle will have the opportunity to pick up their first points of the season against Reading on Wednesday, who have picked up a victory and a defeat in their opening two games.

In the latest Newcastle team news, Benitez has revealed why he left the club’s star man on the bench against Huddersfield.