Rafa Benitez told of his “pride” after watching his side beat Manchester United.
A goal from Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s side at St James’s Park yesterday.
He said ‘congratulations and you did well’, more or less what he said before that. The team was working so hard. They had chances, and he could have been thinking that they would score, but the way that we were working, we were doing really well.Rafa Benitez
Jose Mourinho, Benitez’s long-time rival, warmly congratulated Newcastle’s manager after the game.
“He said ‘congratulations and you did well’, more or less what he said before that,” said Benitez.
“The team was working so hard. They had chances, and he could have been thinking that they would score, but the way that we were working, we were doing really well.”
Benitez and Mourinho developed a fierce rivalry after both taking charge of English clubs in 2004.
Mourinho said after the game that it was a “beautiful thing” to watch Newcastle’s players defend as if their lives depended on it in the last 15 minutes.
“I’m not thinking about that (beating Mourinho),” said Benitez.
“I was just trying to get three points against anyone, and it just happened to be Manchester United.
“Hopefully, it will be the same against Bournemouth (on February 24).
“Against a top side, you have to play in this way. It’s good to see him (Mourinho) praising our players, but that’s the only way for us and I’m really proud of them.
“That is the way to be sure that you can stay in the Premier League.
“Normally, I’m really pleased with them (the fans,) anyway. We win, we draw, we lose, but today it was even better, for sure.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Mohamed Diame (pictured) spoke about the “good feeling” in the dressing room after the game.
“It’s a very good feeling – unbelievable,” said Diame.
“It’s the kind of game that when you win it, with this atmosphere, the fans, the pressure we had before the game with the Huddersfield result – it’s just amazing. We’ve done brilliantly today.
“The team worked so hard. We were in front of the goal, stopping every single ball. It was a big battle, but we’re so pleased with this result.”