Rafa Benitez reveals what he expects from his winning Newcastle team

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says his Newcastle United team is defending from the front as it attempts to get back to the Premier League.

The club beat Derby County 2-0 on Saturday to move up to second place in the Championship.

It’s not just the keepers, the defenders – but the midfielders, the strikers, everybody knows their role and they try to do that.

Rafa Benitez

Yoan Gouffran and DeAndre Yedlin were on target for Newcastle.

And the team ethic at the iPro Stadium was as eye-catching as Gouffran’s stunning first-half strike.

A compact Newcastle ably defended their 1-0 lead until substitute Yedlin made certain of all three points with an injury-time strike.

United have now gone 405 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions.

Asked why the team is defending so well, Newcastle manager Benitez said: “It’s not just the keepers, the defenders – but the midfielders, the strikers. Everybody knows their role and they try to do that.

“Even in the last 15 minutes when Derby were pushing and throwing a lot of balls into the box, Ayoze (Perez) came in, (Jonjo) Shelvey was going to press, (DeAndre) Yedlin was doing well.

“So we knew what we had to do and everybody is trying very hard in defence and in attack.”

Newcastle take on Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road tomorrow night.

After a two-week break for international football, the games will come thick and fast over the coming weeks.

“The interesting was that after the international break it could be dangerous because maybe players lose the focus, but we did well,” said Benitez.

“The team was very concentrated and all the players were helping each other, talking and were concentrated, so I’m really pleased because still we have plenty of room for improvement but you can see that players are concentrating.

“They are helping each other and they are ready for the next challenge. That is what you expect from a winning team.”

Benitez is still looking for improvements all over the pitch.

“If we improve a little bit in some decisions then we will have more chances,” he said.

“Especially when we are away and the other team is high, this is the time we need to be a little bit better and kill the game.”