Rafa Benitez: Newcastle’s fans have a connection with my players

Rafa Benitez believes his Newcastle players are lifted due to the connection between them and the Magpies’ support.

A packed St James’ Park watched Andros Townsend score a free-kick and Karl Darlow save a penalty as the Tyneside club beat Crystal Palace 1-0.

They moved out of the bottom three with the victory, although Sunderland are just one point behind them, with a game in hand.

It was an impressive performance from the Magpies, and Benitez believes his players have been lifted by the support of the Newcastle fans.

“It was a great game for everyone,” the Spaniard said.

“The team spirit and commitment, the connection between fans and players has given us a lift.

“The main thing was to show character and win the game, after that Sunderland and Norwich could win. But that doesn’t matter! You have to do your job. We now concentrate on Aston Villa.”

Townsend’s free-kick was the highlight of the game, with the England winger curling a powerful long-range attempt into the far corner.

Benitez was impressed, but he still found fault with Townsend, who should have netted two or three times against the Eagles.

He continued: “It was a fantastic winning goal, but it was a pity as well. Andros scored a great goal, but he could have scored one or two more.”

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