Rafa Benitez masterminded Newcastle’s first victory of the season on Saturday.

The United boss having to think on his feet as he lost three players to injury in a seven minute period of play.

All three subs played their part in the win, Schar excellent at the back, whilst Ki and Perez combined for the winning goal in the 65th minute.

Javi Gracia reacted to going behind by making his first substitution, striker Andre Gray replacing Gerard Deulofeu, the winger having led United a merry dance but crumbling every time he got near Newcastle’s goal.

Only seven minutes later and Gray looked to have been an inspired substitution, free in the box he was just about to pull the trigger when Kenedy arrived from nowhere and managed to get the vital touch that meant it was a corner rather than 1-1.

Rafa Benitez has revealed that he was also key to this vital intervention.

The Newcastle manager realising the danger and shouting at Kenedy, alerting him to the danger.

Rafa was full of praise for the Brazilian’s reaction to his shouts but if he’d arrived a split second later, I doubt if the manager would have been very sympathetic.

The last few matches have seen Kenedy show improvement on some woeful early performances but you get the impression that Rafa Benitez must feel like shouting at Kenedy quite often.

He has undoubted talent but he definitely doesn’t strike you as somebody who is a natural defender, the player having spent most of his career at left-back until this loan spell at Newcastle when he has been playing on the wing, apart from one or two games as a left-back or left wing-back.

Newcastle had the luck running for them at last on Saturday and maybe that even extended to this goal saving incident, just as well that it happened on the side of the pitch near the dugout, or else Kenedy would no doubt have still been idling up the pitch if he hadn’t been within earshot of Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez:

“If you see on the TV, I was shouting at him (Kenedy), because I knew it was very dangerous.

“I was shouting at him because I did not want him to relax.

“Sometimes you relax and then you cannot get back…but he did very well.

“I could see the player (Andre Gray) and was shouting at him (Kenedy), telling him he had to go.

“He did well.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Watford 0

Goal: Perez 65

Possession was Watford 58% Newcastle 42%

Total shots were  Watford 16 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Watford 1 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Watford 9 Newcastle 8

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Schar 45), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey (Ki 51), Kenedy, Rondon, Muto (Perez 45+2)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Joselu, Manquillo, Atsu

Crowd: 49,157 (Watford approx 1,500)

(Thousands of Newcastle fans didn’t miss much apart from a win! – Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Watford 0 – Read HERE)

(Javi Gracia can’t believe how his Watford side didn’t win, never mind get beat – Read HERE)

(Graeme Swann video message for Rafa Benitez after Newcastle win – See HERE)

(Charlie Nicholas dissects Newcastle 1 Watford 0 – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez post-match verdict – Read HERE)



  • Paul Patterson

    I think Rafas defensive play is coming to the fore. Look at the goal difference of the bottom teams, ours is vastly superior.
    First win accomplished, onwards and upwards…

    • Kenny

      He knows the score ok after 2 years of polishing turds & spinning plates,
      he plays the long game & survival is his only concern.
      give the guy a good squad & we would be top 6 to 8.

      • Paul Patterson

        Oh for a bit more backing..

        • Kenny

          The Rat needs to leave for that to happen

  • Kenny

    Kenedy`s form is starting to return & not before time he can be a match winner when he`s on top of his game. as for Rafa he is one of the best defensive coaches in the World

    • Paul Patterson

      And haven’t we longed for someone to sort that area out. Attack next..

  • JohnnyH

    The elephant in the room
    Rafas contract running down
    Best coach for me, right up there with SBR and Keegan.