Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle's emphatic win over Rotherham

Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey

Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey

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Rafa Benitez has reacted to 4-0 win which took Newcastle United back to the top of the Championship.

Benitez's side beat Rotherham United 4-0 at St James's Park this afternoon to go a point above Brighton and Hove Albion in the table.

Matt Ritchie netted twice and Daryl Murphy and Ayoze Perez also found the net.

Rotherham, however, made it difficult for Newcastle, who opened the scoring in first half added time.

"We knew before that it could be a difficult game in terms of over-confidence," said United manager Benitez.

"We needed to start well, and I think that we had the control for around 25 minutes and they were not creating anything.

"Then we made a silly foul in the middle. It was a corner, and then we started having problems and they grew a little bit in confidence. It was a little bit nervy.

"Then we scored the goal at the end of the first half. Then, the goal early in the second half made the difference.

"We had more control and it was just a question of time if we could score another goal.

"Maybe they had one or two chances on the counter attack, but just one was very dangerous and the others we were comfortable.

"We have to give credit to them, because they were working hard at the beginning and it was not easy to create clear chances.

"We had a couple from Ayoze which could have been better.

"We needed to win, we did it ... four goals, clean sheet, three points and we are going in the right direction hopefully."

Ritchie's strikes took his goal tally for the season to 10.

"We knew that we were signing a good player," said Benitez. "The way he approaches every game, he gives the others some confidence, and that is contagious.

"He is someone that, because he puts in so much in his game, the others have to follow him and that's positive for the team."