Former Newcastle United and current Brighton manager Chris Hughton has backed current Magpies manager Rafael Benitez after he came under heavy criticism for his tactics in the club’s defeat to Manchester City.

The Spanish boss saw his side, which was missing several first team stars as a result of rotation, slip to a narrow 1-0 loss against the runaway league leaders, having adopted defensive tactics to try and stifle what has proven to be a potent attacking force this season.

The Champions League winning manager came under severe criticism from pundits and fans, including Newcastle icon Alan Shearer, for what they dubbed to be a negative to the football played.

However, former Newcastle boss Hughton, who sees his Brighton side go up against his former side on Saturday, has backed his managerial counterpart, insisting that those in charge have every right to adopt whatever tactics they believe will be best suited to their side.

He was quoted by the Irish Independent as saying: “Not everyone realises how difficult it is against the top six, particularly City at this moment and the way they can blow teams away.

“Everyone has the right to set their team up how they feel is the right way against what is certainly by far the best team in the country at the moment.

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“Newcastle are a team we know very well, we know they have a lot of quality.

“That was one game , the approach against us will be completely different. They will see it as a game they can win.”

Newcastle’s defeat, their 9th in their last 11 matches, means that they sit in 15th ahead of their home tie against the Seagulls, with Hughton’s men three points and four places above Benitez and his side, both sides having come up from the Championship last season.

In other Newcastle United news, Alan Shearer has blasted this star man after defeat to Manchester City.

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