It has been a very strong start to the season for the Spaniard's side as they look to bounce back to the Premier League on their first attempt, however the pressure was on them after the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day and Brighton breathing down their neck.
The Magpies made sure that they finished 2016 at the top of the pile with Matt Richie opening the scoring before Nicolao Dumitru-Cardosa’s equaliser. Gayle secured the win with his second-half brace after the dismissal of Matt Mills, and Benitez shared his happiness at the result.
"I am really pleased because obviously it's not an easy league," he said. "I think we have won 17 games now, so I think that's quite good."
"We have lost some games but still we are winning a lot of games," the coach stated. "We have a good team working very hard, and then in the bad moments, we need these experiences."
"And we have had a lot of very good moments so that is the main thing for me," Benitez added. "Keep doing that and try to improve the little things that can improve."
Pleased for him
Gayle has been the star performer on Tyneside since his summer move from Crystal Palace, grabbing his 18th and 19th goals of the season against Philippe Montanier's side.
It is fully expected that the 26-year-old will break the 20-goal mark, becoming the first player since Alan Shearer to reach such a milestone and Benitez praised the efforts of his star striker.
"We said at the beginning that he's a good player," he said. "Who works for the team, but at the same time, can score goals."
Benitez concluded: "So I am really pleased for him and really pleased for the team."
Newcastle United will take on Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Monday, December 2 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.