Rafa Benitez has a message for Newcastle fans on the back of the club’s win over Man United

Martin Dubravka makes a save for Newcastle.
Martin Dubravka makes a save for Newcastle.

Rafa Benitez had a message for Newcastle United’s fans after the club’s 1-0 win over Manchester United.

A second-half strike from Matt Ritchie saw Benitez’s side claim all three points at St James’s Park.

Newcastle had been in the Premier League’s relegation zone at kick-off time.

However, the result lifted the club up to 13th place ahead of a two-week break between fixtures.

Man United manager Jose Mourinho said that Newcastle’s players fought like “animals” to preserve their lead.

And Benitez said: “My message to our fans, and I think they know it really well, is that this is a team that cares.

My message to our fans, and I think they know it really well, is that this is a team that cares. The players do not give up and they continue working hard.

Rafa Benitez

“The players do not give up and they continue working hard.

“We will have some limitations and some problems, but you could still see this was another game when they were giving everything, and that is the positive thing.

“If we understand that and we are behind the players, they can perform like today.”

Benitez hopes to guide Newcastle to “bigger wins” in the future.

“Hopefully, it will not be my biggest win with Newcastle,” said Newcastle’s manager.

“Hopefully, we will have bigger wins than this one.

“But it was a really great game against a very good team, a top side, who everybody knows how good they are.

“The way that we were playing, with everybody giving everything, was absolutely fantastic.

“And to do it in front of our fans was even better.

“We have been so close in so many games, and it was a pity not to win those.

“We did well, although still we were a little bit lucky at the end. But I think the team deserved the three points.

“When we play normally, we don’t defend, defend and that is it.

“We try to attack and counter-attack, but it depends on the other teams.

“In this case, we were pushing from the very beginning and challenging for every single ball.

“That’s the positive thing that allows you to attack and sustain your attacks.

“In the last few minutes, we were trying to defend and play on the counter-attack, and we did that, more or less, well.

“In so many games that we deserved to win, we were very close, but this one, against a top side, it was even better.

“At this time, it is a boost for everyone, and it keeps the team believing that we can win against any team.

“We knew that they had won, but at the same time, we know we have to try to win games. That’s it.

“We were very close in a lot of games, but we were unlucky. We did very well, and maybe got a bit lucky towards the end.

“But we didn’t need to win because they (Huddersfield) won, we needed to win anyway.

“My message to the players before the game was just to forget about the other games and concentrate on this one, and get the three points.”

Benitez would prefer wins in six-pointers against teams around Newcastle in the table.

“I’m more happy with the points than with the fact it was against Manchester United,” he said.

“If you are asking me what do you prefer, to get three points against Manchester United or maybe against another team? I would say maybe another team, because it could be like getting six points.

“We weren’t able to do that, though, so I’m really pleased we were able to do it. It will give us more confidence when we have to play against the top sides, and more confidence against any team.

“We have had a lot of games where the team was well organised and defending well, and it was just a question of passion and commitment from everyone.”