No matter how he or anybody else dresses it up, Rafa Benitez has inherited a right load of rubbish.

A team and squad short on quality and high on shirkers.

The lack of anything of substance at Southampton was embarrassing today.

Rafa Benitez says that his team showed character in the second half and I’m not criticising him – because he has to try and help the fragile egos of the players in any way he can BUT…

Yes Newcastle were better in the second half but they were so bad in the first half, it is difficult to visualise how they could have been as bad after half-time.

We had a bit of a go in the second half but only after going three down, plus we struggled to create anything of note with team play – the consolation goal coming from a fabulous run and shot from Andros Townsend.

Rafa Benitez says that ‘the anxiety is killing us sometime’ – that statement would be better reserved for Newcastle supporters at this moment in time…

Rafa Benitez:

“To be fair…the last three games have been the same.

“I have been saying the same thing.

“Second half we did much better but I am really disappointed with the first half.

“Everybody needs to know that we have a lot of people behind us and so we need to give everything.

“Normally when you are in the position we are in, when you start the game conceding a goal, it is not the best.

“We have to show more character like we did in the second half.

“We have four more games at home and we will need everybody’s support there – in the second half the team did show we had character.

“It is important that everybody continues to believe – the anxiety is killing us sometimes.

“If we can control these things then things will change.”

(Check out instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to today’s match HERE)

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Southampton  3 Newcastle 1

Goals – 

Southampton: Long 4, Pelle 38, Wanyama 55

Newcastle: Townsend 65

Possession was Newcastle 49% Southampton 51%

Total shots were Newcastle 5 and Southampton 20

Shots on target were Newcastle 3 and Southampton 6

Corners were Newcastle 2 and Southampton 11

Team: Darlow, Janmaat (de Jong 40), Taylor (Lascelles 46), Mbemba, Anita, Townsend, Shelvey, Sissoko,Wijnaldum, Perez (Cisse 70), Mitrovic

Unused Subs: Woodman, Dummett, Obertan, Tiote

Ref: Robert Madley

Crowd: 31,542