A FAILURE to score for the fifth Premier League match this season could see Newcastle United drop out of the top ten this afternoon, but Rafael Benitez has no major concerns about his team’s attacking output.

Benitez would like his players to be scoring more, although when he assesses how the rest of the division’s sides are doing he is satisfied with the progress made in such a short space of time.

Newcastle, who face Bournemouth on Tyneside today, have scored ten in the league this season. Outside the top-flight’s top six, only Watford, Leicester and Stoke have found the net more – highlighting why they sit in ninth position.

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Such a placing after ten matches would have been welcomed if it was offered at the start of the campaign, after a summer when Benitez didn’t manage to bring in the calibre of player he wanted following promotion from the Championship.

But the lack of goals topic has been raised again following Monday night’s defeat at Burnley, when Newcastle failed to hit the net. Neither Joselu nor Ayoze Perez caused the sort of problems to suggest they are capable of hitting double figures.

Benitez said: "We are doing well when compared to other teams. Just three teams have scored more goals than us in the 14 teams at the bottom. No-one has conceded less than us. We have the balance.

"But have these players scored loads more than Joselu? Most of them have not, and they do not do the work that Joselu and Ayoze are doing for us.

“Where are we? We are in a really good position, we score goals - hopefully we will score more, but we are not bad when you look at the league - we have conceded less than the others.

"We have balance, we have points and we work as a team. On September 1 we were talking about where we could finish. We are in a good position and we are not as bad as people think. The strikers maybe do need to score more, but we are quite good when compared to others.”

Joselu has scored twice since arriving from Stoke, while Perez has found the net just once – yet Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle remain on the periphery.

Benitez said: "Tammy Abraham has scored four (for Swansea), that's it. Jamie Vardy, two penalties (six goals) ... and more or less than 200 minutes more on the pitch.

"Joselu and Ayoze and the work that they do ... not one of the other strikers do this job for the team. Our players are doing a great job for the team, and thanks to them we concede less, get more points and are ninth in the table."

Asked what Mitrovic and last season’s top scorer Gayle need to do, Benitez replied: "It's the same answer when people are asking about Ciaran Clark and Chancel Mbemba.

"They have to compete. They have to be ready. As a striker, they have to score goals, but if the team is winning, I don't care if it's the striker or the full-back that is scoring goals. Mitrovic, Dwight ... they have to keep working hard."

Considering Newcastle only came up in May, they have started promisingly and sit above Brighton and Huddersfield – the two teams to have come up with them – and that should be remembered.

There has still been criticism Benitez, speaking ahead of today’s visit of Bournemouth to St James’ Park, is setting up Newcastle to be defensively-minded.

He said: “I don’t agree with that. People used to say when I was at Liverpool, 'Oh, he’s defensive'. No, we are not defensive, we are well-organised, that is different.

“We attack and we create - we had 12 attempts versus Burnley. But we also defend well, we have good balance and organisation.

“We don’t go away to think about a draw, we always want to win. But it depends on the players you have. Sometimes, with teams in Europe, you see the players coming from the bench costing more than those on the pitch. That means they have different tools.

“We have a team who work together very well and we are able to achieve what we have. If you say, ‘You have to be more attractive’, maybe we’d be conceding goals all the time and losing goals. We have balance. I do not think we are a boring team, I don’t pay too much attention to those who say we are.”

Benitez has suffered a blow on the injury front which affected his team’s preparations for the trip to Burnley and now today’s visit of the Cherries. Mikel Merino missed the game at Turf Moor because of a back problem.

Benitez said: “It's not clear. We know he's not available and we have to start treatment. It depends how he responds to the treatment. It could be a couple of weeks or it could be a little bit more, but at least a couple of weeks.”