Rafa Benitez explains what Newcastle’s players MUST not lose sight of in the Premier League

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United have showed that they belong in the Premier League.

That’s the view of Rafa Benitez after his side’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

The club ended the weekend in seventh in the division.

Asked if United’s players now believed they belonged back in the top flight, Benitez said: “I think they always believed that they did.

“They had that confidence after the first game. Even though we lost to Tottenham, we played with 10 men, but you could see this was a very good team.

“We could see the level. We could see how hard we worked and how organised we were.

“If you can do that, you will have chances (to be successful).”

Benitez believes Newcastle, promoted last season as champions, can’t forget what has got them where they are.

“I feel like it’s important to realise where we were and where we are,” said Benitez.

“We were relegated. We’ve come back from the Championship, and to be where we are in the Premier League, every fan, every player and every member of staff needs to remember that the way we have done this is by working hard and sticking together.”

Meanwhile, Palace manager Roy Hodgson rued the set-piece which cost his side a point at St James’s Park.

An 85th-minute corner from Matt Ritchie was headed past Julien Speroni by Mikel Merino after an attempted clearance from James McArthur backfired.

Hodgson said: “It doesn’t matter how well organised you are if something like that happens.

“Our guy got to the ball first and headed it against theirs, and it went in.

“We dealt with it pretty well all game. But they handled ours well too. We’re the ones who end up with egg on our face.”

Defender Scott Dann added: “James has headed it on to the lad’s head and it’s looped over Julian, which is a bit unfortunate.

“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves in any way.

“We must move on and start picking up the points we need.”