Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has said that it should come as no surprise that his side are languishing towards the bottom of the table when the quality of the squad is considered.
The Magpies failed to pick up a win in their sixth successive game on Saturday, as they were brushed aside by a confident Chelsea side in their 3-1 defeat, despite having taken the lead at Stamford Bridge.
The loss follows on from more defeats to Burnley, Bournemouth, Manchester United and Watford, while a draw picked up away at West Brom means they have picked up just one point from a possible 18.
Such a run has left the club sitting in 15th, five points ahead of those in the relegation zone, and Benitez says everyone should have been expecting the club to be fighting near the foot of the table, despite their bright start to the campaign on their return to the top flight.
He insists that the quality of the squad means everyone has to be playing at full capacity and yet even then they will find themselves outclassed by the opposition.
Delivering his brutally honest verdict to the Times, the Spanish boss said: ““We knew from day one that we will be in the bottom half of the league
“It’s not a surprise to anyone.
“That is very clear (the players must be at 100 per cent to win). We know a lot about our team.
“But at the same time we know about the other teams and still we can’t stop them.”
Benitez was vocal about his frustrations held over the club’s failings in the summer transfer market, as he saw just five new faces through the door at St James’ Park, and it awaits to be seen whether he will be backed to improve the squad in the January window.
In other Newcastle United news, Benitez is eyeing a senior swoop after allowing this youngster to depart St James’ Park.