Rafa Benitez reacts to Wayne Rooney's unpunished '˜elbow' on Matt Ritchie

Rafa Benitez says he saw Wayne Rooney flatten Matt Ritchie during Newcastle United's defeat to Everton.

Saturday, 16th December 2017, 5:00 am
Wayne Rooney lines up a shot in Everton's midweek win at Newcastle. Picture by Frank Reid

everton star Rooney – who scored the only goal of Wednesday’s game – appeared to catch Ritchie in the face with his elbow.

The incident happened in front of referee Martin Atkinson. However, the official – who dismissed United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey late in the game for two bookable offences – didn’t punish Rooney.

Asked about the incident, United manager Benitez said: “Yes, I saw that. I saw both. I thought maybe I was the only one that saw that.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Benitez wouldn’t be drawn on whether he felt Rooney deserved a red card.

“I will not talk about that,” said Benitez. “It doesn’t change anything.

“OK, I saw the incident. The referee decides nothing. That’s it.”

Meanwhile, Shelvey, sent off against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend of the season, has picked up an automatic two-game ban.

Asked if he was angry with Shelvey, Benitez said: “No, not at the end, as the second yellow can happen during a game.

“It was a counter-attack. It was in the last minute, and you go to the floor to stop it. That can happen.

“I didn’t like the first booking when I looked back at it.

“But it’s something you can’t control. I have talked to him and he knows it’s a mistake and (he) has to learn.”