Rafa Benitez reacts to Jonjo Shelvey's match-winning performance for Newcastle

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benitez hailed Jonjo Shelvey after he inspired Newcastle United to a 3-1 win over Brentford.

The result took the club up to second in the Championship, a point behind new leaders Norwich City.

Dwight Gayle struck twice, and Ciaran Clark also found the net, in front of a 51,885 crowd at St James's Park.

Shelvey, outstanding in midfield, set up all three Newcastle goals.

And United manager Benitez said: "Jonjo, I said before, is doing well, has confidence, has been working very hard during the summer to be fit and be at the maximum level.

"He has the quality, so he can carry on with this vision and this control of the game.

"The strikers will have more chances then, because the team will play much better."

Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace in the summer, now has nine Championship goals to his name.

And Benitez said: "It's not just because he's scoring goals. He's working hard too.

"Ayoze (Perez) was doing a great job between the lines, and then you can see the wingers and the midfielders running a lot, then the defenders too.

"So the team as a team is doing a lot of things, and then you also have a striker who is good in front of goal so much better."