Rafa Benitez ecstatic with his team’s performance as he speaks after beating Stoke
Rafa Benitez has only ever lost one Premier League match against Mark Hughes and that never looked like it would change today.
Newcastle were far better than Stoke and were value for more than their single goal victory.
Rafa has now had 13 PL games against Hughes, with the record now standing at six wins and six draws, with just that one defeat.
Today’s win also means it is the first time Newcastle have won back-to-back away Premier League matches since November 2014, back then it was victories over Spurs and West Brom.
Ayoze Perez scored in both of those November 2014 wins, so it was fitting that he scored the winner today.
Afterwards Rafa Benitez was very happy and explained his team selection and how he thought the team did overall.
“We started the game very well and defended well and in the end I think we deserve the win.
“For us it’s good, for them it’s bad, but for both teams you can see the players are working very hard.
“We know we are looking for something that can improve the team in different areas.
“The players are trying everything and I am pleased with them but if we can improve our squad we will try to.
“That was really good though..
“I was really pleased with the way that the players were working on the pitch, trying to do everything that I wanted – very pleasing.
“It was difficult for us with the team selection after Brighton, because players were tired, so we needed to mix things up a little bit.
“I knew that Atsu could play in this position (behind the main striker) and Ayoze has very clear movement, the understanding between them both was very good.
“The rest of the team were helping with good passes and movement, as well as defending all together – that was key.
“Stoke started putting in crosses from everywhere, we needed to cope with that, and we did it very well.
“They did create some pressure but we still had time to create three or four counter-attacks – when we could have finished the game (off).”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Stoke 0 Newcastle 1
Goals – Perez 73
Possession was Stoke 59% Newcastle 41%
Total shots were Stoke 7 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Stoke 3 Newcastle 6
Corners were Stoke 10 Newcastle 5
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Atsu (Gayle 64), Murphy (Dummett 82), Perez (Hayden 90)
Woodman, Joselu, Merino, Haidara
Crowd: 28,471 (3,200 Newcastle)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory. Read HERE)
(This is quality, Mark Hughes gives Newcastle no credit for the win. Read it HERE)
(Great win, it should have been more! – Read it HERE)
(Give us your NUFC player ratings v Stoke HERE)
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