Newcastle United and Sunderland drew 1-1 this weekend.
This weekend Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez got his first point on the board since replacing Steve McClaren at St James’ Park earlier this month.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late goal against Sunderland ensured the two teams shared the points after Jermain Defoe had earlier put Sam Allardyce’s men ahead. But Benitez’s instant reaction to the strike showed that he knows there is still a very long way to go.
If Newcastle had lost to Sunderland they would have slipped four points behind their fierce rivals, yet a point apiece does few favours for either side after Norwich City’s weekend victory eased their own relegation fears.
When Mitrovic scored his crucial equaliser, Newcastle winger Andros Townsend could not contain his excitement. However his manager remained far more composed, eager as he no doubt was to see his side go on to score another.
That did not happen, but at least Benitez has the international break to work on ways to get this under-performing Newcastle side up the table between now and May.