Rafa Benitez reveals why Martin Dubravka is so important to Newcastle – on and off the pitch

Martin Dubravka keeps out Sergio Aguero.
Martin Dubravka keeps out Sergio Aguero.

Rafa Benitez paid tribute to Martin Dubravka – after he kept Newcastle United in the game.

The goalkeeper made a superb triple save in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

He has been very good in the dressing room, and in these type of games, his contribution is very important for us.

Rafa Benitez

Dubravka twice denied David Silva and also stopped a shot from Fernandinho in the second half.

The 29-year-old, signed on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague in the summer, quickly established himself as the club’s No 1 after arriving on loan in January.

And Benitez has hailed his contribution on and off the pitch.

“When we signed him (Dubravka), we knew we were signing a good keeper,” said United manager Benitez.

“Not too many people knew him, but we were following him for a while and we knew he was a good keeper.

“We also knew he had a very good mentality and was a good professional.

“He has been very good in the dressing room, and in these type of games, his contribution is very important for us.

“When you have teams that are attacking so much, the keeper is the one that can give confidence to the defenders and he is doing well.”

Meanwhile, Benitez revealed why he had to take off Kenedy early in the second half.

Kenedy was withdrawn after Kyle Walker scored City’s second goal.

“He (Kenedy) had some headaches,” said Benitez. “He was a little bit down.

“We could see at half time that he was not fine, but he wanted to continue. We could see he was not fine, though.”