Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has given his reasoning to why he replaced Yoshinori Muto with Joselu during the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend.

The decision did not go down well the Toon fans inside St James’ Park and boos were heard when the fourth official’s board went up to reveal the change.

Brighton – managed by former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton – came away from the north east with all three points despite the hosts dominating the possession and shot stats. The Seagulls had just two efforts on goal all game but Beram Kayal’s strike was enough to seal the win.

That results leaves the Magpies propping up the Premier League ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday but Benitez felt that Joselu could unsettle Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, who were impressive at the heart of Hughton’s defence.

“I thought if we put Joselu there he would try to compete with them, because we were so much in control,” said the United manager to the Shields Gazette.

“It was another different approach with crosses from the wide areas.

“The last minutes we were giving the ball away from the middle two or three times. We have to be more composed on the ball and then try to do the right things in the wide areas to create something more. “Through the middle they had too many bodies and it was difficult.”

Newcastle are yet to win a game this season and sit at the bottom of the Premier League with just two points and have lost their last three games on the bounce.

They face a Southampton side that is also struggling at the wrong end of the table and have not won a match in their last five attempts.

Meanwhile, Benitez gave an update on striker Saloman Rondon who has been out of action for the past month with a thigh injury in the draw with Crystal Palace on September 22.

“He’s getting better, but he has been away for a while,” said the Toon manager. “I don’t think we expect just one player to make a big difference. “If you have Rondon you have more competition up front. Maybe he can help. We need the rest of the team to do their best every game.”

The Venezuela international joined on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion with Dwight Gayle going in the opposite direction and has scored once so far in the defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.

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