Rafa Benitez has a warning for teams that plan to man mark Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey

Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey
Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey

Rafa Benitez has warned teams to go man-to-man with Newcastle United’s Jonjo Shelvey at their peril.

Rotherham United put Will Vaulks on Shelvey in Saturday’s game at St James’s Park.

In the end football is XI vs XI, so that is the important thing.

Rafa Benitez

The ploy worked for much of the first half.

But Vaulks – who diligently marked Shelvey for the 45 minutes – could only watch the midfielder deliver the free-kick which led to Daryl Murphy’s opening goal in added time.

And Newcastle went on to score three more times after the break and win 4-0 to return to the top of the Championship.

Asked aboutt he tactic, United manager Benitez said: “Each one has his own tactics.

“He will be happy with what he was doing before (the goal), but once we score and if they stay focused on one player, then the others they can score.

“Maybe you have to manage it in a different way, but maybe it is fine for them.”

Shelvey found Yedlin with his free-kick, and the defender delivered a first-time ball for Daryl Murphy, who turned and shot past Richard O’Donnell.

Matt Ritchie scored twice in the second half, and Ayoze Perez also found the net.

“In the end, football is XI vs XI, so that is the important thing,” said Benitez.

“You must remember that maybe if you stop playing you, will put the other team under pressure, but still you have other players who can have the players who make the difference, like Ritchie did.”

Rotherham manager Paul Warne said: “Shelvey was like a quarterback.”