Steve Stone believes Benitez must have fired up players at half-time

The Magpies were 1-0 winners over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez must have said something to fire up Newcastle United at half time against Crystal Palace, Steve Stone has told BBC Sport.

The Magpies secured a huge win on Saturday afternoon as a superb Andros Townsend free kick proved the difference between the two sides.

The win took them out of the bottom three in what could prove to be a massive boost to their hopes of avoiding relegation this season.

The first half at St James’ Park was a nervy one to say the least though, and Stone says manager Benitez must have said something at half time to ensure things turned around.

"Rafa Benitez must have had a word at half time, they needed more energy,” he told BBC Sport.

“They were giving Crystal Palace far too much respect, they needed to get in their faces. It is not like they were playing one of the top sides in the division."

If Newcastle do manage to avoid relegation this season, then the appointment of Benitez must be hailed as a masterstroke from the Magpies.

He was something of a surprise name when announced as Steve McClaren’s replacement in March, but has now managed to galvanise them to take the relegation battle to the wire.

Indeed, given how successful he has proven, questions must now be asked as to why they didn’t move to secure him sooner.

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