Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez was pleased with the reaction his side showed despite falling to Leicester City in his first game in charge of the club. Having replaced Steve McClaren as manager at St James' Park on Friday, Benitez was tasked with halting Leicester in their march towards the Premier League title in his first game back in the Premier League after a three-year absence.
An overhead kick from Shinji Okazaki proved to be the difference between the two sides, securing a 1-0 with for the Foxes at the King Power Stadium, despite suggestions Jamie Vardy was offside in the build-up the goal.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Benitez decided not to focus the incident, praising his side's efforts in what he saw as a much-improved performance.
"I think it was a pity because we started well, we had two good chances but after 20 minutes they started pushing and scored," Benitez told Sky Sports 1 post-match. "We had to close them down; they are aggressive and fast on the counter so it was more difficult after the goal.
"But still, I think we had chances at the end, [Moussa] Sissoko [had a chance], so we could score a goal against a good team because to be fair, they are playing at a high tempo.
"We will have to analyse it but I like to think about the positives toddy, the team was going for the game, reacting well in the second half so that for me is the positive thing.
When asked if he thought Vardy was stood offside in the build up to Okazaki's goal, Benitez added: "I am not really going to analyse these things because I cannot change anything. To see we were creating, to see we had good team spirit [was good], everything was there, and now we must correct the little things."
A wonderful effort from Okazaki gave Leicester the lead after 25 minutes, meeting Vardy's knock on with a sublime overhead kick. The home side laboured in attack somewhat in the remainder of the contest but excellent performances in midfield from Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo Kante ensured their grip on the title remained.
Newcastle showed improvement on their recent woeful form but were unable to find a breakthrough. The Magpies take on Sunderland in a huge derby clash on Sunday 20 March, a fixture they have lost six times in a row. Sunderland currently sit just a point and two places ahead of their neighbours,
No side in the Premier League has failed to win the league from the position Leicester now find themselves in with eight games of the season remaining.