Rafa Benitez reveals what he said to his Newcastle United players at the break against Manchester City

Rafa Benitez, Fabian Schar and DeAndre Yedlin. (Pic: Frank Reid)
Rafa Benitez, Fabian Schar and DeAndre Yedlin. (Pic: Frank Reid)

Rafa Benitez hailed his Newcastle United players after the came back from conceded a goal after 25 seconds to beat champions Manchester City.

The club climbed up to 14th in the Premier League after second-half goals from Matt Ritchie and Salomon Rondon gave Benitez’s side a 2-1 win.

Sergio Aguero had seemingly put City on course for a victory, but gutsy United fought back.

“I think obviously we had a gameplan, and the gameplan was not to concede a goal in the first minute,” said manager Benitez.

“Then the reaction of the players was really good. We said we had to stay in the game, keep going and continue working as hard as we did. I think the fans appreciated that.

“It’s the way that we won against a very good team, working so hard and fighting until the very last minute. They knew what we had to do.

“We were good enough to score two goals, lucky enough that they didn’t take one or two chances when we gave the ball away in the first half.

“I think we needed to win one of these games where we were so close. This was the one.”

Ritchie scored the winner from the penalty spot after Sean Longstaff was brought down by Fernandinho.

The winger had a long wait to take the kick after Ederson needed treatment.

Ritchie said: : “I was going to place it, but it was so long so I decided to smash it! I tried to stay focused, and luckily enough it went in the goal.

“I think after our home form of late it was a fantastic result.

“I don’t think too many people believed we could win the game, but we did. It was fantastic spirit. What a performance

“To get in at half-time 1-0 was good, and we re-grouped. We defended really well and did what the manager asked.

“The place has been low, I have to be honest. But we kept believing and kept working hard. We beat Man Utd at home last season, and that was a turning point, so hopefully this can be.

Rondon: “We worked really hard so it is a massive three points for us.”