Rafa Benitez reacts to THAT astonishing series of 50-50 tackles in Newcastle's win over Leicester

Rafa Benitez says his Newcastle United players have put their bodies on the line for the club.

Monday, 9th April 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th April 2018, 7:46 am
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Benitez’s side moved up to 10th in the Premier League table – and all but secured their top-flight status – with a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez were on target at the King Power Stadium.

Benitez felt the commitment of his players was underlined by one sequence of five 50-50 tackles.

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“That’s English football,” said Benitez. “Everyone was so pleased. I’m sure the TV will show that, because it’s quite special. Maybe not for English football, but you don’t see that in Spain, Italy or other countries.

“That shows the commitment of our players.

“No one can say they weren’t trying.

“They were trying really hard and their players were as well. We were stopping them, and, at the same time, we had some chances.

“The final pass let us down on occasions, but, overall, it was a great performance.”

Newcastle – who entertain Arsenal at St James’s Park on Sunday – are now on 38 points with six games to play.

“Yes, we’re nearly there, but we have to carry on and get to the 40-point mark,” said United manager Benitez.

“Now, it depends on other teams and what they will do. So you’ve got 38, but with goal difference it could be 39. It’s still difficult, but we have to try and get the 40-point mark.”

Benitez, once a PE teacher, feels that the recent results are a reflection of a steady collective and individual improvement this season.

“I’m a teacher,” he said. “I’m a PE teacher, so when you’re teaching your pupils, your students, and then you’re teaching players, coaching players, and they’re getting better, it’s the best feeling that you can have.”

Meanwhile, a report yesterday claimed that takeover talks between owner Mike Ashley and would-be buyer Amanda Staveley had restarted.

However, the Gazette understands that a sale is no closer.