Chelsea might have gotten a victory over Newcastle at St James Park on Sunday, but it was a very difficult 2-1 win for the Blues.
Rafa Benitez set his side in a 5-4-1 formation, which made it difficult for Maurizio Sarri’s side to break down the Magpies.
At half-time Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp launched a scathing attack on Benitez’s approach to the game, and Souness said ‘it’s not football’. Souness also claimed that he wouldn’t have been able to get away with the brand of football that Benitez was playing when he was Newcastle boss.
Benitez has now defended his tactics for the game and insists he had to play defensive against Chelsea due to the kind of squad he has at his disposal.
“When I was with Liverpool, we beat Real Madrid 4-0 at home and we were very offensive,” he said after the match.
“When I was at Napoli I was attacking all the time. When you are Newcastle you have to manage because you are in the Premier League.
“You have what you have, so I want to give credit to my players for the effort they make in every game. It depends on the car you have, you have to drive that car in the best way.
“It is not about me and the tactics, it is about players, the results and the bigger picture. Last season, we were the best team in the bottom half and we hope to do the same again if we can.
“You can be a little bit better on the ball, so I am not happy with how we gave the ball away, but at the same time, we have to understand what we have and how we can maximise what we have.
“I was watching teams yesterday playing 5-4-1 and it’s said they are great tacticians and they are fantastic because someone has an opinion on TV. But I was watching and analysing the stats and I don’t agree with some of these comments.
“As a manager, you have to make decisions and as a pundit you have to give opinions. That’s it. I remember a long time ago, I don’t know if it was when [Pep] Guardiola was at Barcelona, but they had 80 per cent against Celtic and they lost the game.
“Possession is just for the TV, for the stats. It means nothing. You have to do what you have to do to maximise what you have. Everyone has their own tools.”