Moreno hopes he won’t have to step into Newcastle hotseat again

Paco Moreno at the Liberty Stadium
Paco Moreno at the Liberty Stadium

Stand-in Francisco de Miguel Moreno hopes the Swansea victory will be his first and last stint as Newcastle United’s No 1.

Rafa Benitez’s fitness coach and assistant was in the hotseat for the day as the Magpies deservedly recorded a first away win in the Premier League since December 2015, thanks to a header from skipper Jamaal Lascelles.

And Paco hopes to walk away from the role with a 100% record, with Benitez hopefully back for the visit of Stoke City to St James’s Park next weekend.

When asked about the win, and Benitez’s constant contact via a phone and radio link between coaches Antonio Gómez Pérez and Mikel Antia, he said: “Hopefully it (100%) will be my record for my whole life, so I am happy for that!

“He (Benitez) was talking with us. Antonio was talking to Mikel, who was on the touchline, and Antonio was communicating with Rafa.

“So between the four of us we were making a plan of communication and it worked perfectly.

“After the game he rang and he has congratulated everybody, especially the players because they have done a massive job and we are very happy for the performance.

“He’s very happy as well and hopefully he is joining us next week.”

Benitez went in for a tidy up operation on an old hernia problem during the international break, but a subsequent infection has meant he has been unable to attend training or, despite plans to fly in via Mike Ashley’s helicopter, the Liberty Stadium win.

And although trusted lieutenant Paco would prefer his manager there, he was happy for him to take a back seat this week.

“That is what we wanted to deliver to Rafa,” he said of the three points, United’s first on their travels in the top flight since they beat Tottenham Hotspur 22 months ago.

“We are very glad because we planned the game in a way to try and win the three points, and we did it.

“Rafa stayed at home and it’s what we wanted. We don’t want to risk anything with him, with his help, and also to do the job and give to Newcastle three points.”

While the likes of Mikel Merino stood out for his industrious running, tenacious tackling and flashes of absolute quality, Ciaran Clark for his calm, assured nature and aggression in the challenge and Joselu for his clever running, movement and linking between midfield and attack it was without any doubt skipper Lascelles who stole the show on the day.

The captain, who was phoned by Benitez on Sunday morning to pass on a message to the rest of the lads, was back to his best in South Wales.

He was a tower of strength at the centre of United’s back four, clearing off the line when Benitez summer target Tammy Abraham looked odds on to open the scoring before obliging himself with a powerful header to win it later on.

Paco was delighted to see the 23-year-old make what proved to be the decisive play on the day.

When asked about Lascelles contribution, he said: “I think we were very serious as a team. We were very compact, playing as a team, working hard together.

“Also we were very concerned about their style of game because they like to have the ball, to have the possession, they try to play dissecting passes, and we stopped them in that way very well.

“They played with two strikers which is very difficult to manage as well, but we did it.

“So these are very good things, and we were I think very balanced between defence and attack too.

“So we are very happy with the defence and the attack,” he added.