Fuming Rafa Benitez in the dark over transfer inactivity

Date published: Thursday 2nd February 2017 8:45

Rafael Benitez has been left fuming by Newcastle’s lack of activity in the transfer window.

Benitez’s side missed the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship when Ciaran Clark’s late own goal consigned them to a 2-2 draw against QPR.

Newcastle did not add to their squad during January, leaving their manager to cope with what he has already got as he tries to lead the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

A tetchy Benitez said: “I can’t change things now. We knew what we needed and we knew what we have.

“I’m disappointed (not to have signed anyone) but I have to concentrate on the players we have.”

When asked if he was surprised at the club’s lack of signings, he added: “Yes.”

And when questioned if he could reveal what went wrong on deadline day, the former Real Madrid boss said: “No, because I don’t know.”

Benitez knows his side need to be more clinical if they are to be promoted.

Yoan Gouffran and Ayoze Perez both wasted glorious opportunities to seal the three points before Clark’s goal.

“We had a lot of chances but we didn’t take our chances and we conceded with an own goal which is the worst thing that can happen,” Benitez said.

“We didn’t take the chances that we had. We needed to score the third goal but we didn’t do it.

“We’re all disappointed that we couldn’t get three points.”

Jonjo Shelvey had given Newcastle the lead after just 38 seconds but Conor Washington’s equaliser before the break was a deserved one.

Newcastle improved after the break, with Matt Ritchie heading in his fifth goal in four games, but it was not enough to earn three points.

QPR boss Ian Holloway felt the late equaliser was the least his side deserved.

“Truthfully, (we deserved) three (points),” he said. “Would I have taken this after 45 seconds? Yeah.

“We took a punch on the chin, shook ourselves down and managed to go. We’ve got to learn to be a bit more clinical but I’m delighted for everybody.”

Holloway was able to introduce new signings Luke Freeman and Sean Goss from the bench in the second half, with fellow January arrivals Ravel Morrison and Matt Smith unable to play.

Holloway, whose side have lost just one of their last six league games, believes his team will continue to improve.

He said: “I’ve brought a whole load of new people in. That group has done us all proud today.

“I’ve got some choices in there. Big Matt Smith is vital, Ravel Morrison I’m taking under my wing and (I will) see if I can help him because he’s got that maverick about him.

“Goss summed it up tonight. His first touch in a big game almost cost us but he goes and gets the ball again and pings a 40-yard ball straight to where he wants it. That’s what I want – a bit of belief.”

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