Rafa Benitez names the player who stood tall for Newcastle against West Ham

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United needed "four or five" Jamaal Lascelles' at the London Stadium.

Sunday, 24th December 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Sunday, 24th December 2017, 10:05 am
Jamaal Lascelles

Benitez's side beat West Ham United 3-2 yesterday thanks to goals from Henri Saivet, Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu.

The win, the club's first in two months, saw Newcastle climb up to 15th in the Premier League.

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Rafa Benitez explains why he picked Newcastle's Henri Saivet against West Ham

West Ham manager David Moyes sent on Andy Carroll in the 59th minute.

And a series of balls aimed at the former Newcastle striker caused problems for the visiting team, who were ably led by captain Lascelles.

Asked about Lascelles' performance, manager Benitez said: "The problem is we needed four or five players like him, because West Ham kept putting the ball in the box.

David Moyes, left, and Rafa Benitez

"They're massive. It's not easy, and especially when they have so many big lads.

"We needed to be strong physically, and we did very well with that. You have to defend and be good on the ball. A lot of positives that we were doing before, and we did them a little bit better.

"To stop Andy Carroll in the air isn't easy. The main thing was Lascelles to keep challenging him and his team-mates also fighting for every single ball."

Newcastle had lost eight of their nine previous games.

David Moyes, left, and Rafa Benitez

And Benitez hopes the game will prove to be a turning point for the club.

"I hope so," said Benitez. "It's difficult when you have a bad run, but we analysed the games and deserved more from four or five of them.

"But we lost confidence, and it was very important for us to win.

"It was important for us to have a good performance against a good team, and they started well with pace – then later this long balls and second balls – but we dealt with things well."