Rafa Benitez says that Newcastle ‘needed character’ on Saturday against Swansea, ‘people on the pitch who you could count on’.

The United boss believing that all 14 players involved did really well as Newcastle won 3-0.

Rafa was relieved at the three points and reiterated once again how important it was that the team got that first win and a starting point under him.

Asked whether Manchester City are now ‘still favourites’ to win on Tuesday night, he pointed out that despite Newcastle getting that vital win this weekend, there are still 16 places and 32 points between the two clubs, as well as the small matter of a Champions League semi-final to look forward to for the visitors.

Rafa Benitez says that we all need to ‘believe’ going into this Manchester City game – fair to say that whilst Newcastle are obviously still not favourites, there is at least some belief filling the stands now.

Rafa Benitez talking to NUFC TV:

“Congratulations to players and fans, we needed a game like this.

“Winning and scoring three goals, against a good side to be fair.”

Jamaal Lascelles a fitting scorer of the opening goal after when he said last week?’

“Yes, we needed characters, we needed people on the pitch who you could count on.

We have seen 11 players on the pitch and three from the bench who played really well and really pleased for everybody who is scoring, everybody who was playing well.

“The second goal was massive, they (Swansea) were playing well the second half, started passing the ball, created some chances. So we had to score the second goal – it was the perfect response for the fans who were demanding more.”

‘Maybe it looks now as though there is a way out?’

“We needed to win the first game and see the reaction. We have seen everybody enjoyed the Swansea game and hopefully against Manchester City we can perform at the same level and three points would be a massive boost.”

‘Do you think Manchester City will still start the game as favourites?’

“They are at the top of the table and in the semi-finals of the Champions League, so they are doing everything to show how good they are.

“If we have the intensity that we had against Swansea, we can beat anybody. 

“We have to keep the character, the passion and this intensity – we need to believe, another three points would be massive for the City.”