Rafa Benitez hails team performance as Newcastle's bad run comes to an end

Rafa Benitez hails team performance as Newcastle's bad run comes to an end

Benitez praised the fight and physical nature of his team as the Magpies run without a win reached it's climax.

Matt Dawson

Rafa Benitez was relieved as his side's run of games without winning came to an end on Saturday, as Newcastle beat West Ham 3-2

The Magpies went behind early through Marko Arnautovic but Henri Saivet was on hand to equalise from a free-kick. 

Mo Diame put Newcastle in front in the second half, before Christian Atsu made it three following Andre Ayew's missed spot kick. 

The latter did score a goal to set up an interesting finish but the visitors were able to hold on. 

A first win in ten

Newcastle's win was remarkably their first victory since October and speaking after the game Benitez said: "It's a great day for our fans, our players and everyone. We have been working so hard.

"Today the way the team was fighting for every single ball, working so hard. Hitting the post - the cross bar - the penalty was outside the box, all these things can go against you but Elliot saved the penalty and we scored the goals.

"I said before it is difficult when you have a bad run. You lose confidence and it was really important for us to win."

Pleasing physical display

Benitez was meanwhile satisfied with the physical nature of his team against West Ham, specifically praising Jamal Lascelles

"You need four or five like him," Benitez stated.  

"They have a few players that are quite big. It's not easy, especially when they have lots of big lads.

"Physically today we did really well and we played the counter attack quite good."

For Newcastle their target is clear; stay in the division, and if they are going to beat the drop then they will have to show a similar sort of performance to the one against West Ham. 

"You have to keep winning to ensure you stay in the Premier League, that is the target. You can see the team spirit. We need a couple of players to ensure we have something different," the Spaniard concluded.