Ben­itez boost at first home points

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - DAMIAN SPELL­MAN

RAFAEL BEN­ITEZ was re­lieved af­ter see­ing New­cas­tle claim their first Premier League win of the sea­son at the 11th at­tempt. The Mag­pies rode their luck to claim their first points at home this sea­son and got them de­spite los­ing Yoshi­nori Muto, Ja­maal Las­celles and Jonjo Shelvey to in­jury be­fore the hour mark.

“I will say that in so many games, there were so many things that we were try­ing to do in a dif­fer­ent way with play­ers, analysing ev­ery­thing,” said Ben­itez, “and still we couldn’t get three points when I think we de­served to get the three points in a cou­ple of games — Cardiff, Manch­ester United, Brighton, they were very clear.

“It was a pity, but to­day we won. There’s a lit­tle bit of re­lief and we can en­joy it, but keep work­ing hard be­cause (next op­po­nents) Bournemouth are also an­other team that is in form and it will be dif­fi­cult.”

Ay­oze Perez’s 65th-minute header from Ki Sung-yueng’s driven free-kick won it for New­cas­tle. But Wat­ford will have left Ty­ne­side frus­trated with them­selves af­ter Ger­ard Deulofeu passed up two first-half op­por­tu­ni­ties, Roberto Pereyra rat­tled the cross­bar and sub­sti­tute Ste­fano Okaka missed from close range.

It was just what the home side needed af­ter an­other bruis­ing week on Ty­ne­side. “The fans have been fan­tas­tic dur­ing the whole sea­son and to­day was an­other ex­am­ple,” added Ben­itez. The play­ers are giv­ing ev­ery­thing. We are mak­ing mis­takes, start­ing from me, but still we are try­ing our best and the fans ap­pre­ci­ate that.

“You could see even in the worst sit­u­a­tion, still they were be­hind the team. Now we have to en­joy it and re­lax a lit­tle bit.”

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