Benitez praises his team as Newcastle go to the top of the league

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle capped off another impressive performance by climbing to the summit in the Championship with a 2-0 won over Barnsley.

Newcastle United manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

It was nigh on the perfect evening for Newcastle and their fans. Dwight Gayle was in the goals yet again as he found the net twice, Karl Darlow kept a clean sheet in the win and Norwich were held to a 2-2 draw with Fulham, resulting in Newcastle moving into first place in the Championship. Following his team's fantastic evening, Rafael Benitez spoke to the Chronicle.

The victory over Barnsley was yet another performance that displayed how powerful this Newcastle side is and, as they took top spot in the league, it sent out a clear message that someone would need to stop the Magpies, as they were not going to easily cede control of the league now.

Dwight Gayle has also continued his fine run of form which sees him top the Championship top scorer charts with 11 goals. While Gayle did score the goals that won his side the game, it was not just a one man performance. Jonjo Shelvey was once again on top of his game as he pulled the strings while Jamaal Lascelles led the team admirably.

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez

The victory was yet another example of Benitez working his magic on the team. At the start of the season the Magpies struggled to really impose themselves on their opponents, and they suffered two defeats in their opening two games to compound a miserable few months which saw them fall out of the Premier League.

Since those two defeats though, Newcastle have won nine times and lost once, a superb record in such a competitive league.

After the win that took them top, Rafael Benitez spoke to the Chronicle: "In the first half we needed to work hard and the second half when we scored the game was more open and we had more chances".

Newcastle's Dwight Gayle scores their fourth goalNewcastle's Dwight Gayle scores their fourth goal

"They had intensity and they have physicality in the game and when they can, they will play too. So we knew it would be like that".

"It was a professional performance, it was difficult against a good team that we knew could push and press".

Newcastle's tactical mastermind was at his best against Barnsley as his side picked up yet another three points. In the past, Newcastle would have wilted under the pressure of a game like this. Instead, they were able to thrive and, in fact, Norwich were the ones that failed as they drew 2-2 with Fulham. 

With the Magpies finally taking control at the top, the question must now be; can anyone stop them?

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez

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