Rafael Benítez still looking for improvements from Newcastle after narrow Wigan victory

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benítez, has stated that there is still room for improvement from the Magpies, as they edged closer to Premier League promotion with Saturday's narrow 2-1 victory over Wigan Atheltic.

Need to relax

St James' Park was full to the brim once again on Saturday afternoon, as over 51,000 fans crammed inside to see their side try and cement their return to the English top-flight on their first attempt.

Dwight Gayle gave them the lead towards the end of the first period, but a goal from Michael Jacobs rocked Tyneside with the equaliser just after the restart. But Matt Ritchie stood up once again to score the winner and keep the point gap between themselves and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Despite the scoreline it wasn't a stellar performance from the Magpies, as there was a number of wasted opportunities, poor passes and spells of shaky defending and after the game Benítez stated his side need to relax going into the last leg of the season.

"It is a pity that we had chances that we didn’t take," Benítez stated to his post-match press conference. "When I talk about chances sometimes it is the final pass."

"We had two or three counter attacks that we could have scored or could pass the ball properly," the Spaniard stressed to the press. "Then we could score a goal and relax a little bit."

"But it wasn’t like this and the main thing is we got three points," the manager conceded. "We knew it was difficult, watching Wigan against Aston Villa we knew they do well."

"We have done a lot of good games with a high tempo, passing and moving the ball really well, creating a lot of chances," the 56-year-old said. "Today we had 18 attempts so it is a question of to have a little more composure on the ball and in the final third."

Benitez added: "We need to play a little more relaxed and we need to be better."

Doing well in the "mini-league"

It is expected to be a dramatic end to another excellent Championship season, with 15 points still separating the top five positions in the table.

There are still seven testing matches to go for the Magpies, with Burton Albion on Wednesday before their biggest clash left in the season with Leeds United on Good Friday and the manager stated that though they are in a good position they need to carry on.

"When you win you have to be happy especially now at this stage of the season it is the most important thing," he said. "I would like to score five goals and play an amazing game like we were doing in a lot of games in the past."

"But at the moment we have to be sure that we show character and good reaction, personality and try to improve a little bit on the ball," the manager stated. "There is a lot of things that we can still improve and a lot of things that we are doing well."

"You see Brighton winning 1-0 and you see Huddersfield losing means that it is not easy for anyone," Benítez concluded. "In this mini league of eight games now seven we are in a good position and now have to carry on."

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