Rafa Benitez: The title race is not over

Rafa Benitez: The title race is not over

Despite Newcastle United, boss Rafa asserts that the race for the top spot is very much open but is confident in his bench.

Katie Mishner

As the week draws to a close, Newcastle United are in the final stages of consolidating their massive win over Championship title rivals, Brighton & Hove AlbionAt the weekend they will face Huddersfield Town who have been pressing on the top two in fine form.

There have been fans and media alike stating that a win away to Huddersfield would surely mean that the the Toon would all but have the trophy locked down. However, manager Rafa Benitez has been keen to take one game at a time. Continuing this pattern, Benitez spoke to the media with caution, assuring that the race is certainly not over just yet.

There are more important games

Newcastle v Brighton was the pinnacle of the season so far as the two top teams faced each other in an exciting end-to-end battle, filled with meaning. For many that was enough to label it as the most important of the season yet, but Benitez was quick to point out the number of games left, all weighted with significance.

"I said before this was just an important game but we have to play a lot of them," Benitez maintained the same tone as he explained: "It's three points but there are lots of games and lots of points."

The Mags' boss also detailed before the Brighton match that April is going to be a big month for Newcastle, in fact crucial to their title credentials. After winning the game, his opinion remains the same.

Impact substitutions

Additionally, the Spaniard mentioned the flow of the game on Tuesday. While he opted for Yoan Gouffran as the starting striker, the difference in the Toon's attack came when Republic of Ireland international Daryl Murphy was brought on and Mo Diame was dropped into a more familiar role behind the striker. 

"You could see we needed to change little bit to get more impact," said Benitez, who sent on striker Daryl Murphy before Diame's equaliser. Benitez added, "It gave us fresh legs and different movements, but I was pleased with the players that had been on the field."

For the manager, who is known for rotation tactics, to have confidence in the impact that can be made later into games off-the-bench has been a positive. Players will continue to return from injury, most notably Dwight Gayle, which will give Benitez more depth to look forward to in the coming clashes that could dictate their path to promotion.