Newcastle United have been very woeful since the start of 2018-19, losing seven and managing to draw the other three of their opening 10 English Premier League games.
The players haven’t performed up to expectations, and Spanish forward Ayoze Perez has particularly come under fire for his ineffectiveness in front of goal.
Newcastle have only managed to score six goals, with the 25-year-old having a hand in just one through an assist.
Perez has started all but one of the Magpies’ league games thus far, and it’s expected that he should be doing better.
Against Brighton, Newcastle’s highest goalscorer last season missed a clear-cut chance which could have secured Benitez’s side at least a point, while he was also poor against Southampton.
With not many attacking options available at the manager’s disposal, it remains to be seen if Perez will be getting dropped from the starting lineup anytime soon.
However, Benitez hopes his countryman can rediscover last season’s form and has urged the fans not to criticize him.
Ayoze understands the frustrations of some people, Benitez told Chronicle Live ahead of Saturday’s clash with Watford.
“He has quality and talent and he scored eight goals, so he can do these things. Has he got to be more consistent? Has he got to have more pace, more ability?
“Yes, you can put a lot of things together, but, again I will say, he scored eight goals last year and is a member of our family, so we have to protect him.
Newcastle host the Hornets later during the day and will be looking forward to their first-ever win of the campaign.
It remains to be seen if Perez will be getting the nod, but clearly, Benitez is still confident in his goalscoring abilities, and the onus is on the player to start repaying the boss’ trust in him.
A victory today will be relieving for the St. James’ Park outfit, but failure to secure all three points will only further put more pressure on the manager and players as they continue to languish in the relegation zone.