Rafa Benitez watched his team totally outplay Stoke City but it will have done little for his recovery/heartrate as the players failed to put the chances and game to bed.
Eventually United saw the game out but it should have been settled by half-time on weight of clear chances.
Watching from the sidelines, Rafa Benitez left the urgings to his backroom team and admitted afterwards “Normally I am a little bit more agitated but today I have to be careful’.
The United boss says his surgery ‘will take some time to heal’ but a few more performances and results like this one today, would be enough to rise anybody from their sickbed.
Tongue in cheek, Rafa says that the supporters will be ‘excited and thinking about Europe’ after this third win in a row.
What he is 100% serious about is when he adds ‘for me it is one game at a time’.
Rafa Benitez has performed miracles with only an £11.5m net spend, as this team is looking to be a real match for most teams despite the step up to the Premier League.
Early days but the signs are positive.
“Normally I am a little bit more agitated but today I have to be careful.
“It will take some time to heal but at least winning is always easier.
“This group of players works very hard.
“Sometimes we have some problems but with the chances we can create, we know they can give us the points.
“The fans, when you win so many games in a row, they are excited and thinking about Europe…for me it is one game at a time.
“It is a very competitive league and we are learning from that.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Stoke 1
Newcastle: Atsu 19, Lascelles 68
Stoke: Shaqiri 57
Possession was Stoke 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Stoke 10 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Stoke 13 Newcastle 14
Corners were Stoke 5 Newcastle 7
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Ritchie, Hayden (Shelvey 69), Merino, Atsu, Perez (Diame 86), Joselu (Gayle 78)
Woodman, Manquillo, Murphy, Lejeune
Crowd: 51,795 (approx 1,500 Stoke)
(Alan Shearer a very happy man after Newcastle went top four – Read it Here)
(The instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to win over Stoke – Here)
(Give us your Newcastle v Stoke player ratings Here)
(Mark Hughes’ comments Here – he was watching a different game!)