Benitez praises debut hero Dubravka after upset win

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Rafa Benitez was feeling quite good after his Newcastle United side held on to beat Manchester United 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

And why wouldn’t Rafa in a good place? Newcastle kept their stay in the Premier League’s Bottom Three to just over two hours. And in doing so, Benitez one-upped longtime rival Jose Mourinho, who is yet to win a match at St. James’ Park.

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal did the trick, but the goalkeeper Benitez landed on loan just before the January transfer window closed was the star of the show.

Martin Dubravka made a number of fine saves in his first start for the Magpies.

“He can buy the lottery and win today. He was composed and that gave confidence to the team. All the players worked hard, so it is not fair to say just the goalkeeper played well.”

He also knows he got a bit lucky with goal mouth clearances and substandard finishing from Mourinho’s men.

“They are dangerous, but the teamwork we showed to fight for every ball was amazing,” Benitez said. “I am pleased for the players and the fans. Because we won here at home.

Here’s what Dubravka said, courtesy the BBC:

“It was an amazing game. It was important for us that we got the three points. Everybody is super happy. I tried to focus on the game and just think about helping the team in critical situations.”