Rafa Benitez says Georginio Wijnaldum and Jonjo Shelvey reacted in the right way to being dropped.
The pair were named as substitutes for Newcastle United's game against Manchester City on Tuesday night.
Wijnaldum came off the bench late in the game and missed a chance to take all three points, while Shelvey didn't make it off the bench.
Shelvey was also left out of the starting XI for last weekend's home game against Swansea City, which relegation-threatened Newcastle won 3-0.
"It's the way we have to act if we want to be stronger," said United manager Benitez, who takes his team to former club Liverpool tomorrow.
"Competition between players is really important, especially at the end of the season when you have so many important games."
"Jonjo or Gini, when you talk about them not playing, their reaction has been good. They are key players. They are working hard, and they have to compete.
"That's positive for the team as it beings the best from the team. They know my ideas.
"Gini came on and he could have won the game in the last five minutes, so the players have to know how important they are, because in the end they can make the difference. They have to be ready."