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Rafa Benitez is the man with the plan – More than happy with his team

5 years ago

For Rafa Benitez it was yet another successful day trip.

The Newcastle boss seeing his team pick up their 11th away win from 15 Championship trips, with significantly eight of those 11 wins featuring a clean sheet.

Rafa Benitez said after the final whistle that the key factor was that ‘The team is defending as a team and working very hard’.

As well as continuing to have the best goals scored record in the Championship, Newcastle United are now the undisputed best defenders as well, so far.

With 23 goals conceded in 30 matches, it is a tribute to the Manager’s organisation and discipline he has instilled in the way United defend.

To concede only eight goals in 15 away matches is particularly impressive, to put that into context the figures for our promotion contenders are Brighton 17, Huddersfield 20, Reading 28 and Leeds 21.

Ever the pragmatist, when talking about whether Newcastle will be caught in this promotion run-in, Rafa says if Newcastle can keep getting three points ‘the other teams have to keep on winning’.

The Newcastle boss saw the game as one where Wolves were the better team early on but eventually Newcastle reduced them to playing long aimless balls, with the Magpies easily winning those and also starting to win more and more second balls as the game progressed, eventually allowing his players to play a bit more football.

Rafa Benitez is undoubtedly the man with the plan.

Rafa Benitez:

“Wolves were dangerous in the first-half with their crosses, as they were winning a lot of second balls.

“We managed the situation better and then they started playing long balls to their strikers and it was easy for our centre-backs.

“Then we won more second balls and had the chance to play on the counter attack.

“Every game is important to try and get three points and if we can do that, the other teams have to keep on winning.

“The team is defending as a team and working very hard.

“We were complaining about the penalty not being given.

“Then from this he (Mitrovic) went to a yellow card and then he (the referee) was under pressure, so I think in the end that I am pleased that he has scored the winning goal and pleased that he was working so hard.

“With the pressure of the fans on top of him, I think it was important to protect him and protect the team.

“I wanted to be sure that we had 11 players on the pitch.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Wolves 0 Newcastle 1

Newcastle: Mitrovic 44

Possession was Wolves 57% Newcastle 43%

Total shots were Wolves 11 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Wolves 2 Newcastle 2

Corners were Wolves 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Craig Pawson

Crowd: 24,876 (4,200 Newcastle)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 82), Colback, Shelvey, Gouffran, Diame (Perez 88), Mitrovic (Atsu 46)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Hanley, Gamez, Hayden

(To read the instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction go HERE)

(To see the interactive Newcastle v Wolves player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

(To watch the winning Mitrovic goal go HERE)

(Read the moans and groan from Wolves boss Paul Lambert HERE)


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