Stan Collymore is full of praise for Rafa Benitez.

After Mikel Merino sent Newcastle into sixth place with a late winner against Crystal Palace, he declared ‘Super job by Rafa’.

It wasn’t the prettiest on Saturday at St James Park but the United boss ensured his team held it together in a game where they struggled to get it going offensively.

Stan Collymore though making the point: ‘Defensively always gives his teams a chance to compete – And in this league that means always a chance for points’.

It might sound not the greatest scenario when playing at home against the rock bottom team who have lost seven of their eight matches and also failed to score in seven of them  – but in the first half Newcastle simply had to hang in there, as Zaha and Townsend caused problems with their pace and running with the ball, whilst their teammates stifled anything from the home side.

The clean sheet was pivotal to the game and the result, the eight goals conceded in nine matches, means that now only the top three clubs (Man City, Man Utd, Spurs) have conceded less goals than Newcastle.

Stan Collymore then came up with an interesting suggestion…

Pondering on a Rafa/Klopp ‘love child’ who could combine ‘Defensively Aware’ with ‘Rock and Roll pressing’.

Stan Collymore on Twitter:

“Super job done by Rafa.

“Defensively always gives his teams a chance to compete.

“And in this league that means always a chance for points.

“If only Rafa and Klopp could have a love child….

“#defensivelyaware

“Meets

“#rockandrollpressing”

Replies from fans to Stan Collymore and his Rafa/Klopp suggestion:

‘I’ve been saying this for a while Stan!! Rafa and klopp for joint manager!! Rafa focus on defensive players and klopp on the attackers!’

‘Rafa is head and shoulders above Klopp as a manager. Look what he’s doing with that squad. If L’pool had him back now they’d be contending.’

‘F……. hell a Newcastle team getting praise for defence!’

‘Never seen nufc defensive this good.’

‘That would be one ugly looking kid…..’

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0

Goals:

Newcastle: Merino 86

Possession was Palace 45% Newcastle 55%

Total shots were  Palace 10 Newcastle 7

Shots on target were Palace 0 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Palace 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden (Merino 56), Atsu, Perez (Diame 66), Joselu (Mitrovic 78)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Murphy

Crowd: 52,251

(Read what Rafa had to say after the match HERE)

(Andros Townsend believes Newcastle didn’t deserve to win – read it HERE)

(Garth Crooks believes Newcastle could win the Premier League if Rafa is given right resources – Read HERE)

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

(Alan Shearer reacts to win over Palace HERE)

(Amusing Roy Hodgson hard luck story after final whistle HERE)