Pundit says Benitez has put his stamp on Newcastle after vital win over Swansea

Pundit and former Newcastle United star says Rafa Benitez has finally made his mark after getting his first win as Magpies boss against Swansea City.

Benitez tasted victory for the first time since taking over from Steve McClaren when his side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at St James' Park on Saturday.

The victory closed the gap on Norwich City in the safety of 17th place to just three points courtesy of bitter rivals Sunderland's own 3-0 win over the Canaries at Carrow Road.

Some Newcastle fans have been left scratching their heads at just why it has taken so long for the penny to drop for the club's players.

'If they can keep keeping clean sheets who knows?'

But former Magpies midfielder Jermaine Jenas told BBC's Match of the Day that it is the Benitez effect finally kicking in.

"I thought (against Swansea) it was the first time I've seen that Newcastle team looking more organised and able to perform at the level Rafa wants them to," Jenas told MOTD.

"The defensive line was good, they all went back together and came out together, there were good distances between the defenders, good distances between the back four and midfield.

"That was Newcastle's second clean sheet in 18 games and that just shows you how hard it is to win games for Newcastle.

"And if they can keep keeping clean sheets... who knows?"

Tougher tests ahead

Jenas' fellow MOTD pundit Trevor Sinclair gave equal billing to attacker Andros Townsend for the impact he has made since his move from Tottenham Hotspur to Tyneside.

Whether the combination will be enough to inspire the St James' Park outfit to steer clear of trouble remains to be seen.

Benitez faces much tougher tests on the horizon with Champions League semi-finalists Manchester City up next.

His side also has tricky games against his old club Liverpool and title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur which will go some way to deciding their Premier League fate.

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