Rafa Benitez reacts after Newcastle go No 1 for Christmas

Rafa Benitez hailed his Newcastle United side after they claimed top spot at Christmas.

Saturday, 17th December 2016, 4:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th December 2016, 12:09 pm
Rafa Benitez

Benitez's team went four points clear at the top of the Championship after beating Burton Albion 2-1 this afternoon.

Dwight Gayle and Mohamed Diame were on target at the Pirelli Stadium, where Newcastle had to withstand long spells of pressure from the home side.

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"I was pleased with the attitude of the players, the teamwork and the character they showed."

Second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion could close the gap with a win over Birmingham City this evening.

But whatever the result at St Andrew's, United will lead the division on Christmas Day.

"I prefer to be top of the table in May, but we're in a good position and we have some time to prepare for the next game," said Benitez.

Meanwhile, Burton manager Nigel Clough felt his team had deserved something from the game.

Clough said: "There were a couple of errors that lead up to their goals, but, other than that, I thought we were fantastic.

"We deserved at least a point today."