Reflecting back on the dramatic win over Norwich, Rafa Benitez declared ‘I am really proud of the players and the fans’.

It was certainly one of those games where people got their reward for sticking at it, whether on or off the pitch.

Thousands may have left St James Park but the vast majority of the Newcastle fans stayed with their team until the (not so) bitter end.

As others were already in the pub drowning their sorrows at a depressing defeat, the stands were rocking after those two goals in a minute reminded tens of thousands of Geordies why they put themselves through this week after week.

Rafa Benitez says that he never lost faith in his team and that it was simply a case of keeping going after the odd mistake had been ruthlessly punished by the visitors.

Rafa Benitez:

I am really proud of the players and the fans, I think it was incredible.

“We deserved to have three goals in the first half but we were losing 1-3 in the second half, so it was incredible.

“The reaction of the team, they were pushing to the end, that means we have a very good team spirit and the work rate of the players – everything was so positive and I’m really proud.

“It’s important for the future to have this mentality, that you don’t give up and you have to keep the hope until the end.

“It means if you get a result you will be stronger for it but in football, you have got to enjoy today, relax a little bit, then concentrate on the next game. It will be difficult and still we have a lot of months to go.

“I had confidence in the team, we were doing well, then we made one mistake in the second half (second Norwich goal) and everything was against us, it was the same with the deflection.

“I was really disappointed because we didn’t deserve to be losing but now I’m really pleased and really proud because we won, we deserved to win.

“It was really important to score (straight after Norwich made it 3-1) because if not, you could see we were having problems because the game was stopping for different incidents, and then it was against us, so to score the goal and keep the momentum was really good for us.

“The fans realise that the team spirit is there, the passion is there, and that we have to stick together and that is the way to win more games.”

“It was a tense game, so we were fighting for every ball, it was incredible to be losing.

“So I think that everybody in the dugout, everybody in the stadium, was really pleased with the way we finished the game.”

(To view the player ratings for the Norwich game and add your own go HERE)

(To read the instant fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s match go HERE)