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Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg berated himself and his teammates after his side lost 3-0 to Newcastle United on Saturday. He was sent home from Chelsea's pre-season tour of China last summer after posting derogatory comments on social media, and was regarded in some quarters as a player who lacked discipline. The Spaniard hasn't got the better of them since 2004 and the Magpies haven't beaten the in their last seven attempts, as Opta remind us. Matt Ritchie completed the job 12 minutes into the second half.

'It's a pity, we thought we were bringing in a player with his experience in the Premier Leagie, his power, he could help, ' said Benitez. Then he can understand, although he also speaks English well. He's quiet, but he has a good relationship with all the players. "He wants to play football, and he's doing that really well".

If we are to progress, and start to look like a normal club, loan players such as Dubravka and Kenedy HAVE to be signed on permanent deals.

He said: "Everybody is just pulling in the same direction and everybody is focused on the main goal, which is to stay up".

Newcastle have been on a contrastingly strong run of form in 2018, losing just twice in the league to Liverpool and Manchester City, whilst also recording victories over Manchester United and Stoke City. However, it was telling that no gilt-edged chances were created from any of these set-plays.




Asked if the Southampton game had been a "must-win" fixture, Benitez said: "I don't know if I said that, but it was an important game to win". You can see that from everybody.

After this game, Newcastle will not play again until they host Huddersfield Town on March 31.

Southampton, who are winless in their last four league games, will be hoping to get a morale-boosting win when they meet League One (third tier) side Wigan Athletic in their FA Cup quarter-final tie next Sunday.

However Benitez, who will mark two years since his appointment on Sunday, is confident the four-day training camp, which will conclude with a game, will not be tarnished by the kind of behaviour which earned bottom-of-the-table West Brom unwelcome headlines last month. It looks very hard now but in a week we've got another game in the FA Cup and we have to show our best to change our spirit on the pitch.


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