Rafa Benitez recalled Jamaal Lascelles to his starting eleven on Saturday and the reinstated captain played his part in Newcastle’s first clean sheet of the season.
The Newcastle manager proving once again that he was ready to make any changes he felt necessary, as he left out Paul Dummett who he’d only just promoted to be stand-in captain on Wednesday night.
With Ciaran Clark moving to left-back and Vurnon Anita keeping his place at right-back as Daryl Janmaat was omitted totally from the matchday squad, Chancel Mbemba completed the defence against Bristol City.
After the game, Rafa Benitez said that he knew his players would have to come through a physical challenge with three Bristol City players standing 6ft 3 or taller.
Jamaal Lascelles thought that the clean sheet shows the team can ‘fight and compete to go with the talent we’ve got’.
Talent going forward wasn’t in great supply on Saturday but one moment of magic won the game, Mohamed Diame breaking quickly and putting a superb ball into the path of Dwight Gayle, the striker matching the pass with a quality finish (watch it HERE).
Lascelles said that this was something they had been working on in training, using Gayle to get in behind the opposition, the United captain describing the forward as ‘an unbelievable player’.
Jamaal Lascelles talking to the official club website:
“We have been working on Dwight running in behind in training, so it was great to see it come off,
“If he gets in behind defenders he’s really hard to catch. He’s sharp and if he gets a yard he will finish, which he showed.
“Thankfully he got us that goal, he’s on form and we need to keep him confident and on his game because he’s an unbelievable player.
“But it was a team performance and everyone did their jobs at both ends of the pitch. If he keeps doing that every week and we keep defending like that, we will be flying.
“That was a massive game for us to win, we knew it was going to be tough, away from home, and it was exactly that from start to finish.
“But we got an early goal, which we don’t do too often and we defended excellently.