David Wagner gives a surprising verdict on 'lucky' Newcastle '“ and Rafa Benitez

David Wagner says Newcastle United deserve to be top of the Championship '“ as they make their own luck.

David Wagner
David Wagner

Rafa Benitez's side beat Wagner's third-placed Huddersfield Town 3-1 last night to go five points clear at the top of the division.

Wagner was unhappy at Newcastle's first two goals at the John Smith's Stadium.

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Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle's remarkable win over Huddersfield

Matt Ritchie scored from the penalty spot after going down in the box, and Daryl Murphy dispossessed goalkeeper Danny Ward before scoring a second in the 32nd minute.

Substitute Dwight Gayle netted a third in injury time for United, who had beaten second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion four days earlier.

"I think we played well," said Huddersfield manager Wagner, who had to watch from the stand because of a touchline ban.

Mohamed Diame and Rafa Benitez

"I think the players tried and risked everything. I was very happy with their working attitude.

"They always kept their heads up. This wasn't easy, because it was harsh to take the first two goals we conceded. I still believe the first pen wasn't a pen. Maybe there's a handball before the situation as well.

"For the second goal, Danny Ward touched the ball and had it under control before being dispossessed.

"In the second half we really tried everything against a top team. Everybody knows this. I think Newcastle have shown this.

Mohamed Diame and Rafa Benitez

"They are very difficult to break down. They are compact and stable. Even in this situation we tried everything.

"At 2-1 we had some half-chances. In the end, it was a good performance. I had no complaints that we lost this football match. This is what we have to accept."

Newcastle are now 11 points clear of Huddersfield, who have a game in hand.

Asked what he thought about Benitez's side, Wagner said: "There is a reason why they are top of the league.

"Even when they're not at their best in terms of ball possession or shots, they are able to manage results.

"As we have seen in the past they have a lot of lucky moments, like the Brighton goal or the penalty (against Huddersfield) and the second goal, but on the other side, I have to be honest, it's a top team with a great manager.

"They deserve every single point that they have, even when some of them were maybe a little bit lucky."

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