Rafa Benitez was full of praise for the Newcastle supporters after the 1-0 over Derby County.

The atmosphere at the game was markedly better than 90% of matches this season at St James Park and undoubtedly the fans were determined to show their backing for Rafa after the transfer window shenanigans.

Rafa Benitez says that the supporters ‘realised they could make the difference’ and that the players responded to that.

Summing up this afternoon’s uplift, the United boss picked out the fans ‘cheering when Paul Dummett was tackling’, as the Geordie defender put in one of his better performances with a committed display.

Helping to keep the likes of Tom Ince quiet, the left-back’s close attention to his opponents always looked destined for a yellow and so it proved, though fortunately it came with only eight minutes left on the clock.

Rafa also praised the fact his team were willing to have shots from distance and after Shelvey’s volleyed goal on Wednesday, Matt Ritchie followed that up with another goal from outside the area, though it did take a wicked deflection.

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Rafa Benitez:

“The positive thing was the communication with fans and players, they were cheering when Paul Dummett was tackling and all of those things create a very good atmosphere.

“Hopefully we can keep this atmosphere until the end of the season, they realised that they could make the difference.

“Games like this one, from the beginning you could see the fans were ready to help the team and to cheer the players.

“The players were responding and we started the game creating chances, we were shooting from everywhere and the fans were happy with that.

“We scored the goal and you could feel the atmosphere, that is what we need until the end of the season. The fans know the players will run a little bit more if they can feel this support.

“Every game, every three points is important – it doesn’t matter how we get them.

“We played good football for a while but in the end we have to do it against a good team.

“We got three points that maybe we deserved in another game where we played really well and didn’t win. Now we are doing well.

“It was a pity that we had to suffer a little bit because we did have chances to finish the game.

“In the first half and the second half, so many chances.

“It is not fair to get to that stage at 1-0 when we had so many chances.

“Something could have still happened, we concede a corner and I was still a bit worried and upset because I could see a player pushing one of our players.

“If you don’t give those fouls anything can happen, especially in the box with so many bodies.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Derby 0

Newcastle: Ritchie 27

Possession was Derby 49% Newcastle 51%

Total shots were Derby 4 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Derby 2 Newcastle 8

Corners were Derby 5 Newcastle 5

Referee: Darren Bond

Crowd: 52,231 (3,185 Derby)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Hanley, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden (Perez 49), Shelvey, Gouffran (Lascelles 90+3), Diame, Mitrovic (Ameobi 84)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Lazaar, Gamez, Murphy

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(To view our interactive Newcastle v Derby player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

(Steve McClaren reckoned Newcastle didn’t deserve to win, read his post-match views HERE)