RAFAEL BENITEZ was left to rue a costly mistake at Turf Moor and has told his Newcastle United players that standards must improve after a frustrating night in the Premier League.

The Magpies suffered defeat for only the second time in eight matches when Jeff Hendrick hit the winner for Burnley 16 minutes before the end.

Hendrick’s goal stemmed from a sloppy error from Ayoze Perez deep in his own half when he dawdled in possession and was robbed, despite claims for a foul.

It was a defeat that has seen Burnley climb above Newcastle and up to seventh and the manner of the performance overall was not to Benitez’s liking and high standards.

“I had a lot of claims (about decisions) but that doesn’t change anything,” said Benitez.

“The thing is, it was an even game, we could have won or lost. One mistake and it happened. One mistake and after that we pushed and had chances, but it shows in these games that you can’t give the ball away like we did.

“We made a mistake and after that we were out of position. We didn’t do what we had to do. We could have done better.

“We had attempts after that but in this game you have to be strong enough in defence and better in attack. You need more chances. They took advantage of that.”

Newcastle have 14 points from their opening ten matches and they sit ninth, six points above the relegation zone in their first season back in the Premier League.

But Benitez does not want his players to think they have cracked how to deal with life in the top-flight, particularly after the way they suffered defeat at Burnley.

Now he is desperate to see a reaction against Bournemouth at St James’ Park on Saturday, knowing how his players had to rely on a late goal in their last outing to beat Crystal Palace.

He said: “Obviously eyes are on Saturday now, but I am disappointed with these games because we can win these games.

“We know the league is difficult, it is a long race, but we have a game Saturday and we have to make sure mentally we are ready. We have to make sure we are more confident than today, we need to settle down and be ready.”

But Newcastle face a worrying wait to hear how serious Mikel Merino’s back injury is. The Spanish midfielder missed last night’s trip to Burnley and he is likely to be absent again when Bournemouth travel to the North-East.

But Benitez is reluctant to put a timescale on the problem at this stage. He said: “We have to wait to see and he will see a specialist, we will see how he feels. We will see what the specialist says after a couple of days to see we have the right decision.”

Sean Dyche celebrated five years in charge of Burnley by defeating Newcastle, even if he wasn’t thinking too much about the milestone. What he was more concerned with was outfoxing Benitez to see his team climb above Newcastle.

“I have had numerous anniversaries, is the fifth the new 25th? Respect is earned and it has been over a five-year period here,” he said.

“We continue to work hard to progress, myself, the staff and the team. We are not the market leaders and we have to work hard for everything we can get. The first marker is becoming a recognised Premier League club. There is still more work to be done.

“I thought before the game it would be tight. They wouldn’t give much away. It was how long we would have to wait to break that down, we had to mix our play and work hard to get that.

“They are good side I think. I think we edged it. There was a calmness to our play which I enjoyed. You need moments in a game when you can disorganise a back four.

“The Premier League is a difficult place to be and you need to get the wins however you can. When you are us, you can’t go out and play fantastically, you have to go out and fight for the win. It is hard to find one way. It is learning that and then doing it.”