Rafa Benitez ecstatic after beating Manchester United – First PL home win in 113 days
Rafa Benitez was a happy and relieved man after the final whistle.
Newcastle competed all over the pitch against Man Utd but it was heart-stopping stuff in the final stages as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.
You know how it felt to be sitting/standing watching on as a fan, never mind being Rafa Benitez who we are all counting on to perform minor miracles this season.
Rafa described today as ‘an amazing effort’ and who would/could argue?
The Newcastle players really came together and gave it everything, no exaggeration to say that these 11 players couldn’t have done more to achieve the win.
Though with the quality Manchester United have, it was always going to need a bit of good fortune favouring the ‘brave’.
The last month has seen Mohammed Diame produce form we had never seen in the previous 18 months and Matt Ritchie & Jonjo Shelvey produced by far their best displays of the season.
All three key to today’s win and isn’t it just great when a plan comes together.
“The win gives us confidence for the rest of the season.
“My message before the game was very clear.
“We knew Huddersfield had won, we needed to carry on and do our job, and still we have 11 games to play and we have to play with the same team spirit.
“When you play a top side like Manchester United you know every ball is important because if you make a mistake they will punish you.
“You have to work like we did today, it was an amazing effort.
“We were doing well for a while (going forward), then we were defending, but the teamwork and the way they fought for every ball…was amazing.
“I am really pleased for the players and the fans because we did it here at home.
“We have had some games where in the last five or 10 minutes where we have conceded, today we were a bit lucky in some of the shots they had…but still the team worked so hard and in this kind of game, anything can happen.
“We showed the character, passion and commitment that we must show for the rest of the season.”
“Martin Dubravka did well (on his debut), he was composed and gave confidence to the team.
“The rest of the team helped and all the players worked so hard, so to say the keeper was important is not fair for the others, everybody was important.
“Jonjo Shevey has quality on the ball – he is learning and if he can make the right decisions he is a very good player.
“Obviously we know that we are working really hard to play a game like this one.
“And to see this in front of our fans, and the way that we played, also our position (thirteenth) in the table now.
“All these things together have to be a boost for everyone.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0
Newcastle: Ritchie 65
Possession was Man Utd 64% Newcastle 36%
Total shots were Man Utd 13 Newcastle 10
Shots on target were Man Utd 6 Newcastle 3
Corners were Man Utd 10 Newcastle 0
Referee: Craig Pawson
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 84), Gayle (Joselu 80), Perez (Hayden 90+4)
Darlow, Manquillo, Murphy, Merino
Crowd: 52,309 (Man Utd 3,000)
(Alan Shearer gives his reaction to the win HERE)
(Read Jose Mourinho’s reaction to the match HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory HERE)
(Match ratings for all Toon players after beating Man Utd HERE)
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