Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle's win over Stoke '“ and explains his team selection

Rafa Benitez has explained his team selection for Newcastle United's 1-0 win over Stoke City.

Monday, 1st January 2018, 5:02 pm
Updated Monday, 1st January 2018, 5:05 pm
Rafa Benitez

Ayoze Perez, recalled to the starting XI, scored the only goal of the game at the bet365 Stadium this afternoon.

The result saw the club climb up to 13th place in the Premier League.

"It was really good," said Benitez. "I was really pleased with the way the players were working on the pitch, trying to do everything I wanted. It was very pleasing.

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"It was difficult for us with the team selection after Brighton, because the players were tired, so we needed to mix things up a little bit. It was quite good."

Benitez left Dwight Gayle and Joselu out of his side and fielded Perez up front with Christian Atsu.

“I knew that Atsu could play in this position, because I knew him before," said United's manager.

"Ayoze has very clear movement, and the understanding between them both was very good.

"Then the rest of the team were helping with good passes and movement. After that, they were defending all together, and that was key.

"They started making crosses from everywhere, and we needed to cope with that, and we did well.

"They created some pressure, but we still had time to create three or four counter-attacks, and we could have finished the game."