rafael benitez

Benitez: Newcastle players played for the shirt in Man City win

Rafael Benitez praised his Newcastle players for their hard work in a shock 2-1 comeback win over reigning champions Manchester City at St. James Park. 

The end result looked far from possible at the beginning of the night, when Sergio Aguero scored within the first minute to put Man City ahead.

The Premier League champions failed to build on that lead however, and goals from Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie earned the Magpies a huge victory in their bid to survive relegation this season.

The Spaniard reacted to the result after the game, praising his squad for their reaction to going behind so early.

“It feels really good. We didn’t just win, we won against a very good team. Everyone wanted to see how long we could defend without conceding but we did within the first minute but everyone reacted well,” Benitez told BBC’s MOTD.

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“We tried to counter-attack and score when we could. I am really pleased with the players and the fans behind the team. To get three points this way… The players played for the shirt, the fans and for everyone. They give everything every game and the fans appreciate that. They work very hard so it’s important they carry on doing the same.

“The goal we conceded was not in the plan! But we tried to stick with the plan and continue until the end. Matt Ritchie enjoys taking penalties. In training he is quite good so we were confident. He did well.

“The main thing is to stick together and we did it. People weren’t expecting a win against Man City but everyone was thinking of what they had to do for the team. Everyone should be pleased.”

Newcastle United now lie 14th in the table, five points above the drop zone, while Man City could fall seven points behind Liverpool in the title race should the Reds defeat Leicester City on Wednesday night.

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