Rafa Benitez says his players’ dreams are coming true at Newcastle United.
Benitez’s side beat Arsenal 2-1 this afternoon to move 13 points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone with five games left to play.
Newcastle are 10th in the division with 41 points.
United came from behind to beat Arsenal thanks to goals from Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez.
The result, a fourth successive victory, has moved Newcastle to within a point of ninth-placed Everton, their next opponents.
Asked if he had dreamt of passing the 40-point mark at this stage of the season, Benitez said: “No. We were not expecting to be in the top 10, but at the same time I said we were dreaming.
“We were awake and thinking that we could do it.
“If you see the way that the players were working for every single ball, and the fans and all the staff.
“Everybody was pushing in the same direction, and that’s the key when you want to succeed in something.”
Asked if a top-10 finish was now the club’s target, Benitez said: “The target now has to be to get three points against Everton, that’s it. One game at a time.”
We were not expecting to be in the top 10, but at the same time I said we were dreaming. We were awake and thinking that we could do it.Rafa Benitez
United manager Benitez joined his players on the pitch to celebrate the result in front of jubilant fans after the final whistle.
“Obviously, I’m really pleased, because it was important for us to achieve that, and the way that we did it,” said Benitez.
“Every single player, every fan, every member of the staff, I have to congratulate them, because it has been a fantastic achievement in a very difficult season.
“We started learning without too much experience for some players in the Premier League, and little by little we were growing, and especially in this second part of the league, the team has grown in confidence.
“We were so good in a lot of things that in the end, I think we deserve to be where we are.
“Some people were dreaming that maybe we could be here, but they were not awake. We were awake, we were believing from day one.”