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Rafa Benitez “Normally I am calm…I did a little fist pump”

5 years ago

After watching his team score two goals in the sixth minute of injury time to earn a dramatic 4-3 victory against Norwich, even Rafa Benitez has admitted he lost it a little at the end.

The enduring image of the night will be Rafa being launched into the air by Aleksandar Mitrovic in a great big bear hug.

As for Rafa Benitez, he admits to a ‘little fist pump’ when the win was confirmed.

For the first time this season, both Mitrovic and Gayle were on the pitch together.

The Serbian waiting at the side of the pitch to come on as the United boss had no choice but to make changes after Norwich made it 3-1 in the 69th minute.

Before Mitrovic could make his entrance, Gayle scored a magnificent goal to get Newcastle back into the game, Shelvey’s superb 60 yard pass dropping over the striker’s shoulder for him to control in one movement before lashing it past McGovern in the Norwich goal.

The double substitution (Hayden on for Colback as well) was slightly held up and we are left wondering whether the intention was always to take the disappointing Mohamed Diame off, or whether Gayle’s goal changed Rafa’s decision.

Whatever the truth, hopefully we will now see the future being two strikers, rather than the Diame behind Gayle plan.

Dwight Gayle could have had a hat-trick and more in the first half, rather than the one close range effort he did score. Nevertheless, Rafa Benitez said he was happy with Gayle due to his impressive work rate, even if chances are going astray, as happened at Villa and last night.

The record books though will simply show the goals that he did score and whilst Mitrovic didn’t do a lot, his very presence seemed to unsettle Norwich and helped United get their dramatic win.

Rafa Benitez:

“Normally I am calm…I did a little fist pump”

“To feel the fans here when you are scoring goals and winning the game is amazing…I think we deserved to win.

“In the first half we deserved to be easily ahead against a good team, the second half – incredible at 3-1 down.

“We didn’t start well in the second half, one or two mistakes, but still the team reacted and pushing.

“They played five at the back and we dropped off a little bit.

“Then we were in attack and for all the bad luck in the first half – we had good luck in the second half.

“I said the other day that against Aston Villa, Dwight Gayle had one or two clear chances and things could have been different then.

“Every striker will have those situations and I will always try to give confidence to a striker as long as he continues to work.

“It is not only about scoring goals, he has been working hard. He had chances in the first half and then his (second and third) goals came in the second half.

“I’m really pleased for him and really pleased for the team – you never know how important this could be.

“You have to give credit to the players because of their work rate and their spirit, everything you are looking for you could see.

“It is still early but if you win and you win in this way, it is a boost for everyone. It is a boost for the players and for the fans.”

(To give us your player ratings for tonight’s game go HERE)

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


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