Benitez frustrated by Newcastle’s defending

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Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez said his team needed to defend better and control more of the ball after twice surrendering the lead in a 2-2 draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Isaac Hayden gave Newcastle a first-half lead with a shot on the rebound but the visitors were pegged back when Manolo Gabbiadini was allowed to turn Javier Manquillo and shoot low past goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

Ayoze Perez’s angled shot put the visitors back in front and on course for victory, only for Florian Dejeune to needlessly bring down Shane Long in the box and allow Gabbiadini to equalize for the second time, from the penalty spot.

“We gave them the chance to score with the penalty. We did well but still conceded two goals, so something was wrong,” said Benitez, whose side had only 38 percent of possession.

“We have to work hard, keep improving. We have to defend better, attack better and keep the ball better.”

The result kept Newcastle ninth in the Premier League, while Gabbiadini’s brace lifted Southampton to 10th and ensured they avoided a third consecutive defeat at home.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said: “The reaction was good at the end -- our best 20 minutes.

“We never controlled the game totally. I knew it would be difficult but one point is a positive.”

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