Rafa Benitez was a happy/relieved man after the final whistle.
A very poor game was endured by the Newcastle fans but there is nothing quite like a late winner to send everybody home happy.
The United boss felt his side dipped below standards they have set this season but that on matchdays like this one ‘it’s even more important for us to get three points’.
Rafa Benitez says that he and his staff knew how dangerous Mikel Merino can be when getting on the end of set-pieces, a valuable extra to his passing ability.
Moving into sixth, even if only temporarily, the Newcastle managers says ‘at the moment we are in a good position’.
Long may it continue.
“It is important to get three points in a difficult game – they had confidence and were working hard.
“It is another step forward and the main thing is we keep pushing and winning games.
“We have a very clear idea and have to take one game at a time. At the moment we are in a good position.
“In this case, without playing at the level at which we have been playing in the past, it’s even more important for us to get three points.
“The way that we scored, good delivery and then good determination from Merino, that is also really important – to show the character of the team.
“Until the end we were trying to control, to attack, to push and that is what we have to do.
“We knew when he (Mikel Merino) was in Osasuna he was strong on corners – we knew about this option.
“It is not the main thing, the best thing he can do is pass the ball.
“Could we play a little bit better? Maybe.
“But Palace were well organised, they have confidence, they have pace, good counter-attacking.
“So it was very important for us to keep them at the bottom of the table by winning.
“When you win a game, you have to be really pleased.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0
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
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden (Merino 56), Atsu, Perez (Diame 66), Joselu (Mitrovic 78)
Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Murphy
(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)