Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle's FA Cup win over Luton
Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United "sent a message" with their FA Cup win over Luton Town.
A strong side beat the League Two leaders 3-1 at St James's Park this afternoon thanks to two goals from Ayoze Perez and a strike from Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle took a 3-0 first-half lead in front of a crowd of 47,069.
Luton fought back after the break and netted through Danny Hylton.
“I'm pleased with everything – the goals we score, the way we managed the game," said United manager Benitez.
"Maybe because of that, and three goals up, we relaxed second half and gave them belief they could score and it because more difficult. But we go through and the fans enjoyed an emotional game.
"We want to go as far as we can. I don’t want to lie. It was important to go through and play a strong team. Hopefully, the next one too. We will see the next one. I wanted to be sure we did not have any surprise.
“It was important to send a message we wanted to do well. But it depends on injuries and where we are in the league."
Perez's strikes followed his goal in the New Year's Day win over Stoke City.
“Perez is important for the team and for a striker to score goals," said Benitez. "The team created chances. Ayoze will be happier than others."
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles left the field with a groin injury.
However, the defender is confident he will be fit to face Swansea City in the Premier League next weekend.