Whilst everybody else was flapping, Rafa Benitez was playing it cool.
After a number of very good chances went begging in the first half, the United boss’ message to the players was not to panic against a very negative team who showed no ambition.
Rafa declaring after the 1-0 victory: ‘So it was a question of staying calm and trying to take our chances.’
In particular, Rafa Benietz says that he took eventual match winner Ayoze Perez to one side at the break…’I was talking with Ayo (Perez) at half-time and said ‘Listen, stay calm…you are trying to be involved in too many things. Just stay in your position, move around there, if you have one chance – take the chance.’
After a very ineffective match, I’m guessing most of the crowd were looking for both Perez and Kenedy to be replaced, yet the pair of them combined for the winner.
A talented or lucky manager?
Who cares! Probably a bit of both, or at least I hope so.
A great result and an incredible effort from Rafa Benitez to have this squad in 12th place and on 35 points with seven games still to play.
“I was talking with Ayo (Perez) at half-time and said ‘Listen, stay calm…you are trying to be involved in too many things. Just stay in your position, move around there, if you have one chance – take the chance’.
“He did well, because when the other team is compact, narrow and short, you have to stay calm- because you will not be involved too much in the game and you just have to make the right movements at the right time.
“Satisfaction is the word, because everything that we were talking about, we were doing almost everything right.
“There were some mistakes but in the end we had the chances, so we created enough to go ahead.
“We knew that this could be this kind of game.
“We knew we were playing against a team that is well organised, who play good counter-attack, are physically strong.
“So it was a question of staying calm and trying to take our chances, we didn’t do it in the first half but still staying organised to control the game.
“We had a period of time in the second-half when they were quite dangerous on the counter-attack, that’s what we needed to control.”
“I was telling all the players just to ‘Stay calm, to keep going, we will have chances and be sure that we don’t give them any hope that they can score’.
“In the end, I think we deserved to win against a team, I will say again, that is well organised and was quite dangerous.
“It was a great atmosphere and the team and fans together are stronger.
“Forty points is the figure we are looking for and that’s it.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Huddersfield 0
Newcastle: Perez 80
Possession was Huddersfield 37% Newcastle 63%
Total shots were Huddersfield 4 Newcastle 18
Shots on target were Huddersfield 0 Newcastle 3
Corners were Huddersfield 3 Newcastle 3
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 67), Shelvey, Diame (Hayden 79), Shelvey, Kenedy, Gayle (Slimani 75)
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Murphy
Crowd: 52,261 (3,000 Huddersfield)
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Huddersfield 0 go HERE)
(Despite not one effort on target David Wagner says Huddersfield didn’t deserve to lose! Read HERE)