Rafa Benitez gives his verdict on Newcastle’s 4-0 win over Bradford – and Jacob Murphy’s goalscoring exploits

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez was heartened by what he saw from Newcastle United at Valley Parade.

Benitez’s side beat Bradford City 4-0 last night thanks to two goals from new signing Jacob Murphy and strikes from Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

All four games came in the second half at Valley Parade.

And United manager Benitez feels his team is improving both its fitness and tactical awareness ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

“It was good,” said Benitez. “The main thing was improving the players’ fitness and their understanding between each other.

“We created some good situations and also defended quite well.

“It was what we were trying to do, although there are still things we are trying to improve.

“But at least you could see a team that were trying to do the movements that we were practising in the training sessions.”

Benitez was also pleased to see winger Murphy, signed from Norwich City last week for £12million, score twice on what was only his second appearance for the club.

“It’s always important for offensive players to score goals,” said Benitez.

“If a new player scores two goals, then he is bound to have more confidence for the next games.

“We are at the beginning, so we still have to improve a lot.

“But I’m quite with this performance.”

The game had followed a disappointing 1-1 draw against Championship side Preston North End at the weekend.

Benitez said: “It was another level (to Preston). Although sometimes when you play against a team (from a lower league), it’s easier to do what you want to do.

“You could see that we knew exactly what we wanted to do in parts of the game.

“You’ll always make mistakes, but, overall, I thought it was a good performance.”

Meanwhile, Benitez was again without captain Jamaal Lascelles, who has a knee problem.

“He has a little problem, and we have to be careful,” said Benitez.

“We have enough players to manage that and give other people an opportunity.”