Newcastle started the day in 19th position in the Premier League, one point behind Norwich City and Sunderland as the three teams look to avoid joining Aston Villa in relegation to the Championship.
The Magpies were nervous on occasions, and in the first-half they didn’t look like controlling the game.
However, some tweaks at half-time certainly did the trick as Andros Townsend’s free-kick put Newcastle in front and they had further opportunities to really put the game beyond the visitors.
The win made it eight points from their last four matches, and ex-Newcastle boss Pardew felt his former side didn’t look like a bottom three team as he paid tribute to work being done by Benitez.
“This was a tight game, Rafa has improved Newcastle in terms of the defensive structure. It is difficult to get at them and they have edged a win here. They did well today, they did not play like a team in the bottom three and I am not sure they are,” Pardew explained to the BBC.
While Townsend will earn the plaudits for his superb strike and goalkeeper Karl Darlow for saving a penalty, the real mastermind behind Newcastle’s recent revival is their boss Benitez.
The Spaniard as made the Magpies tighter in defence, more compact out of possession and more controlled in their attacks - focusing a lot on player position and structure.
Newcastle’s much-needed victory moves them out of the bottom three for the first time since Valentines Day.