Rafa Benitez reveals his view on Ciaran Clark after match-winning Newcastle return

Ciaran Clark.
Ciaran Clark.

Rafa Benitez hailed Ciaran Clark on his return to his Newcastle United side – after the club’s stand-in captain put in a match-winning performance.

The defender scored the second goal in Monday night’s 2-1 win over Burnley.

Clark had been recalled to a five-man defence at Turf Moor, where Newcastle took an early lead through a deflected strike from Federico Fernandez.

The 29-year-old, playing alongside Fernandez and Fabian Schar, doubled United’s advantage with a header before Sam Vokes pulled a goal back.

Asked about Clark’s performance, manager Benitez said: “I think he did well. The three centre-backs had to adapt to two strong strikers, and after they put more big lads on the pitch.

“I think they did really well. For someone who was not playing to play at the level he played, I’m really pleased with him.”