Rafael Benitez bemoans prospect of replay


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Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez admits the prospect of taking on Blackburn in an FA Cup third-round replay is far from ideal.

The Magpies were held to a 1-1 draw by their Championship opponents at St James’ Park on Saturday, although it took a late penalty from Matt Ritchie to save their blushes.

The draw means the two teams must meet again in a replay at Ewood Park on January 15 and Benitez admits, with his side in the midst of a Premier League relegation battle, the extra match is not what he wanted.

Asked if a replay was the worst possible scenario, Benitez replied: “Yes, in terms of another game, another situation that you have to manage with more minutes, more players, more risk.

“I am not happy with another game – I would prefer to win this game and that’s it. But if you cannot, at least you have another chance and then try to win the next one.”

The replay will be sandwiched between two important Premier League games for Newcastle as they first take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before they face a home clash with fellow strugglers Cardiff the following week.

Newcastle, who are priced at 4.00 to be relegated come the end of the season, are without a win in their last four league games and are currently just two points above the relegation zone.

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