Gayle, who also hit a post with a curling shot, received a standing ovation from the 2,500 travelling fans when he was subbed late on after his fourth goal in three games but he was quick to praise Benitez’s back four.
“We all have great belief in the way we’re set up,” Gayle said. “The gaffer sets us up to defend well, and we’ve got great defenders and they all played really well.
“We coped with the long balls well and they didn’t really look like scoring. Maybe once or twice they had little half-chances, but nothing clear cut.
“For me it’s fantastic to help the team with goals but the defence was the reason we got the three points and I thanked them for that.”