Rafa Benitez's verdict on Chris Hughton and Brighton after Newcastle retake Championship lead

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benitez has paid tribute to Chris Hughton after Newcastle United retook Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship.

Benitez's side are a point clear at the top after last night's 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic.

Brighton had beaten Blackburn Rovers 3-2 the night before to briefly lead the Championship.

Hughton, the last man to guide Newcastle to promotion, spoke warmly about Benitez after the game at Ewood Park.

And United manager Benitez feels Brighton's results speak for themselves under Hughton, a popular figure on Tyneside.

"He's a great manager and he has a very good team," said Benitez.

"They are doing really well. It's not easy to win in any competition, but (especially) the Championship. Still they are winning. That (tells) me how good he is and how good the team is."

Asked about staying above Brighton, Benitez added: "We try, obviously, but Brighton are doing well.

"If we can keep winning our games, as I said before, we don't need to see what they do if we keep doing what we have to do."