Rafa Benitez turned 56 today (he was only 46 when he arrived at Newcastle…) and said after the game that he and his players could now ‘celebrate with our friends for sure’.

The Newcastle boss saying that…”When you have players who are giving everything, the quality you have, you can score goals and win games.”

There are many things you can read into Rafa’s post-match comments and only he knows how much he is making a point about what has gone before.

At times Newcastle rode their luck against Swansea, especially when they lost their way halfway through the second half and the visitors had three or four decent chances.

However, it was a marked improvement on recent games and even early on when there were clearly nerves, the players were still showing more commitment than previously.

Getting the lead was key, as Rafa had pointed out before the game and fittingly, it was Lascelles scoring the vital goal.

The young defender having called his team-mates out regarding the commitment (or rather lack of it) that had been shown in recent games.

Happy Birthday Rafa Benitez, may you have many more at St James Park…

Rafa Benitez:

“Congratulations to our players because today they showed the passion, the commitment and the effort that we were expecting.

“Thank you to the fans because they were supporting the team to the end.

“If we stick together it will be easier for us to approach the games and get chances to win.

“Everyone was doing a great job.

“Papiss Cisse was doing a great job up front and after that Mitrovic was quite good too. 

“When you have players who are giving everything, the quality you have, you can score goals and win games.

“When you win games everybody is happy but the main thing is we saw what we expect from this team and now we have to play the same in games to come.

“It has been a good step forward but now we have to keep the momentum, keep working like today against Manchester City.

“It will be another massive game and we will try to win.

“We will now celebrate with our friends for sure.”

(Read Alan Shearer’s post-match reaction HERE)

(View the player ratings for today and add your own marks HERE)