Rafa Benitez's surprise reaction after Newcastle move up to fourth in the Premier League table

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez watched Newcastle United record a third successive win – then insisted he did NOT want to look at the table.

Benitez's side beat Stoke City 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu.

And the result, the club's third successive victory, lifted the club up to fourth in the Premier League table.

United manager Benitez said: “I haven't seen the table and I don’t want to see the table, believe me.

"I said one game at a time, and now is to be sure the fans enjoy.

"We have to enjoy but we have to be sure the next training session we will start correcting things and improving things and doing things the way we are at the moment.”

Lascelles headed a winner for the second game in a row, having netted the only goal of the game against Swansea City last weekend.

“We knew before the game it was a difficult game," said Benitez.

“We have to approach the game with the mentality we did; working very hard.

“We wanted to be strong in defence and create something in attack. It was not easy sometimes, because they are a good team.

“We had chances to finish the game early and they had a chance. That is football. We have to learn in the Premier League you cannot make too many mistakes or you will pay for that.

"At the same time, when you are winning, you can correct things and it will be easier for me to pass the message.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said: "We have played better than that in recent weeks, and it's disappointing from our point of view.

"We were loose in our general play and the accuracy of our passing.

"We had to be vigilant, but towards the end of the game we made a mistake on the set-play after working really hard to get back on level terms.

"We went for it at the end, but it wasn't to be.

"Second half we controlled the game for the vast majority, they were just looking to break on us. We didn't quite do our jobs at a corner and Jack (Butland) wasn't able to save it. We'll move on to the next one.

"We are a good side and we can knock it around, but at key moments we have to be clinical."