Newcastle United’s nine-match winless run is over, and Rafa Benitez is relieved to see his charges get what he believes is a deserved trip back out of the drop zone.
[ RECAP: West Ham 2-3 Newcastle ]
Benitez has lamented his team’s lack of depth since the end of the August window but rarely proffered negatives about his players or their effort.
So when the Magpies responded from a rough start to get goals from two unexpected sources and a third from Christian Atsu, Benitez was essentially glowing from the visitors’ side at the London Stadium as Newcastle beat West Ham 3-2.
“We needed a performance and a victory like this. We were pushing really hard against Everton and hit the post twice. I am really pleased for the lads and the fans. it is fantastic.
“It was important to win to show that we could doing the things we are doing. We know it will be difficult to the end but we know that we can win and achieve things doing things as we are.”
Mikel Merino, Jonjo Shelvey, and Isaac Hayden were all unavailable to Benitez through injury or suspension, necessitating a partnership between Mo Diame and Henri Saivet. The latter hadn’t started for Benitez in the Premier League, and scored a free kick after giving away a goal to Marko Arnautovic early in the match.
It doesn’t get easy for the Magpies over the festive season, with a visit from behemoth Manchester City next. But the Magpies will defend to the death and hope for good things from a visit from old pal Chris Hughton and Brighton and then a trip to Stoke City.