Rafa Benitez buzzing after hammering Southampton
Rafa Benitez was understandably buzzing as he reflected on the job he and his players did on Saturday afternoon.
If ever there was a day when statistics can mislead, then the game against Southampton showed it.
The visitors had almost two thirds (63%) of the possession but there was only one team who did anything when they had the ball.
Newcastle looked dangerous every time they came forward and whilst they were two up at the break, it could easily have been four.
Once Matt Ritchie added to the two Kenedy goals just before the hour mark, it was predictable that then Rafa Benitez would close the game down and try to ensure there was no encouragement for a well beaten Saints team.
It wasn’t that he went negative, just wanted to make sure of a win and clean sheet, with a fourth goal being a bonus if it came along.
Rafa says that everybody at the club knew how ‘massive’ this game was, especially with a three week break now before the next game.
As always he praised the work ethic of his players and particularly the fact they were so determined to add the clean sheet to a win that looked certain from some way out.
“We knew it was massive for us.
“Against a team close to us in the table, we needed to do well.
“The players approached it well, the intensity they showed, the way they moved the ball – very pleasing!
“You need a bit of luck to score early.
“We than scored a second and just needed the third to kill the game.
“You could see the hard work that they put in for the clean sheet.
“When you see the payers working so hard, as a manager you have to be very pleased.
“We know Southampton have most of the possession in their games, and after the goal, they had to take the risk and attack.
“So we have to be organised.
“When you play against a team who have possession and pass a lot, you have to defend well and then counter attack.
“Five points above the relegation zone is good…but there is still plenty to do.
“I have confidence in the team that we can do it.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Southampton 0
Newcastle: Kenedy 2, 29, Ritchie 57
Possession was Southampton 63% Newcastle 37%
Total shots were Southampton 6 Newcastle 7
Shots on target were Southampton 2 Newcastle 5
Corners were Southampton 6 Newcastle 2
Referee: Andre Marriner
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey (Merino 83), Kenedy (Atsu 78), Gayle (Joselu 69)
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Murphy
Crowd: 52,246 (Southampton 1,600)
(Alan Shearer raves about loan signing and Newcastle’s win but admits to mixed emotions. Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the three goal win HERE)
(Mauricio Pellegrino couldn’t believe what he was watching – His reaction HERE)
(Read the match ratings for all NUFC players after the 3-0 win HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]