Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle’s dramatic win – and Dwight Gayle’s hat-trick

Dwight Gayle
Dwight Gayle
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Rafa Benitez hailed Dwight Gayle after the striker netted a hat-trick in a dramatic late win for Newcastle United.

Gayle scored a winner six minutes into injury time at St James’s Park last night to give Rafa Benitez’s side a 4-3 win over Norwich City.

The striker had missed a series of early chances before putting Newcastle into the lead midway through the first half.

But Norwich scored three unanswered goals and looked to be heading for a victory.

Gayle pulled one goal back in the 70th minute, and Yoan Gouffran levelled five minutes into injury time.

And Gayle lifted the roof at St James’s Park with his seventh goal of the campaign seconds after the restart.

Dwight Gayle

Dwight Gayle

United manager Benitez had kept faith with Gayle after he missed a couple of chances in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

“I said the other day that against Aston Villa, he had one or two clear chances and things could have been different,” said Benitez.

“Every striker will have those situations, and I will always try to give confidence to a striker as long as he continues working.

“It is not just about scoring goals. He has been working hard – he had chances in the first half – and then his goals came in the second half. I’m really pleased for him, and really pleased for the team.”

I will always try to give confidence to a striker as long as he continues working.

The result saw the club climb up to third place in the Championship.

Newcastle are three points behind leaders Huddersfield Town ahead of Saturday’s game against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.

“You never know how important this could be,” said Benitez.

“It is still early, but if you win and you win in this way, it is a boost for everyone. It is a boost for the players and the fans.

“You have to give credit for the players because their work rate and spirit – everything you are looking for – you could see. You could see all of those things.”