Jonjo Shelvey was sent off after stamping on Dele Alli
Acting captain Shelvey was sent off just after half-time for trampling on Dele Alli and Spurs took full advantage with the England man and Ben Davies finding the net.
But Newcastle boss Benitez claimed Harry Kane should have been red-carded too for a rash 33rd-minute tackle on debutant Florian Lejeune.
The French defender left St James’ Park in a protective boot and could face a spell on the sidelines along with fellow defender Paul Dummett, another first-half casualty.
While Benitez offered no excuses for Shelvey’s moment of madness, he felt Kane’s challenge deserved similar punishment.
“That tackle from behind from Harry Kane was worse because I had to change a player,” said the Toon chief. “It was more dangerous.”
Jonjo Shelvey sent off for stamp on Dele Alli
Sun, August 13, 2017
Click for the snaps of Jonjo Shelvey being sent off for a stamp on Dele Alli
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Click for the snaps of Jonjo Shelvey stamping on Dele Alli
All the effort we put in was lost because of one mistake
Newcastle boss Jonjo Shelvey
Asked if he felt let down by Shelvey, he added: “It’s not me, it’s everyone. All the effort we put in on the pitch was lost because of one mistake.
“He knows he has made a mistake and he apologised in the dressing room. But we lost the game, so…”
Shelvey, who faces a fine, is now banned for three games and Benitez will review his decision to hand him the captaincy.
Rafa Benitez has criticised Jonjo Shelvey after his red card against Tottenham
“We can’t change anything now,” he added. “We move forward and think about solutions. Will he be captain? We will see in the future, it is too early.”
Benitez brushed aside questions about whether he planned to talk to owner Mike Ashley last night following the owner’s latest interview with Sky Sports.
Ashley admitted he had made mistakes, including renaming the ground and sacking Sam Allardyce, though it remains to be seen whether he will loosen his purse strings to provide Benitez with the funds he feels are desperately needed.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino believes his side would have won even without Shelvey’s intervention.
“Of course – we dominated the game,” he said. “I’m very pleased. It was important to start the season with a win.”
He also confirmed he plans to strengthen his squad this month.
“We are strong enough to compete in the same way as last season but, for me, we need to sign some players before the end of the transfer window,” he added.
“We have 10 months ahead, have four competitions and will need a lot of energy, more competition and more quality to help the team and keep the level that we want.”