Rafa Benitez reveals the 'main thing' he took from Newcastle's win over Brentford

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez was more heartened by the "character" shown by his Newcastle United players at Griffin Park than the sight of the Championship table at the final whistle.

Benitez's side returned to the top of the division on Saturday thanks to a 2-1 win over Brentford.

Newcastle lead Brighton and Hove Albion, beaten 2-0 by Preston North End at Deepdale, by a point.

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United lost three players – Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Vurnon Anita – to injury at Griffin Park.

And manager Benitez said: "Character was the main thing for me.

"We started well in the game, then we lost a little bit of control.

"Then when we had problems – losing Gayle, Hayden and after Anita. The players showed the character that you are expecting and you are expecting from a winning team that wants to go up."

While Benitez was pleased to see the club return to the top of the division, the attitude and application of his players pleased him more.

"It's important to get the three points, the win and to see the team working so hard," said Benitez.

"We believe in the players, and you can see the character from the players fighting for every ball at the end and making sure to get three points.

"If you are at the top, it is even better.

"But it depends on Brighton in the future, and we can just keep doing our best, winning games. That's it."

Injury-hit Benitez must now find a team for Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Birmingham City.