Five things we learned from Newcastle versus Preston

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic gestures to their fans

Newcastle United reached the quarter finals of the EFL Cup with a 6-0 win over Preston North End.

Newcastle United romped into the next round of the EFL Cup, demolishing Preston North End 6-0 at St James' Park to advance to the quarter finals.

It was ugly if you were a Preston fan, but the Magpies did not want the evening to end, with chance after chance coming their way.

Rafael Benitez made seven changes and will take on Preston again on Saturday in the Championship. After a sensational win, here are five things we learned about Newcastle.

Mitrovic looks very sharp

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic scores their fourth goal

The Serbian was given a chance by Benitez and he took it.

Mitrovic was sensational leading the line, with the only negative being his squabble with Matt Ritchie when Newcastle were awarded a penalty.

The striker added a new dimension that the Magpies have not had this season, and took both of his goals brilliantly. Mitrovic looks leaner and sharper than he ever has, and has given Benitez a lot to think about.

Atsu has found a home

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez with Christian Atsu, Grant Hanley and teammates

Despite being just 24, Christian Atsu has been a bit of a journeyman so far in his career.

Loan spell after loan spell, it just has not clicked for the Ghanaian. That might have changed now he is at Newcastle, with the winger looking very much at home in a black and white shirt.

Atsu was everywhere against Preston, with his energy and pace making him such a handful, and it was a shame that he did not get the goal his performance warranted.

The Diame conundrum will rumble on all season

Newcastle's Mohamed Diame celebrates scoring their second goal

How do you solve a problem like Mohamed Diame

Maybe it is not possible. The midfielder scored his first and second goal for Newcastle in the 6-0 drubbing, but also missed an absolute sitter which somehow seemed easier to score.

It was an improved performance from Diame, but it was certainly not a vintage 90 minutes that will have Tyneside buzzing from the Senegal international. The inconsistency will likely haunt Diame throughout the season, like it has done his whole career.

The winning culture is running through the whole club

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring their fourth goal

Rotation is rife at Newcastle under Benitez, and nobody is sulking about it.

Having seen loss after loss over recent season, Benitez has brought a winning culture back to St James' Park, with this being their sixth consecutive victory. Even more impressive, the winning culture is running through the whole squad. Benitez made seven changes for the game but it did not make a difference.

His players played with confidence and swagger from the first minute, even the players who have not seen as much action lately.

Geordies can almost start to dream of Wembley

Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez celebrates scoring their sixth goal with Isaac Hayden and DeAndre Yedlin

Newcastle and cup competitions have never really seen eye to eye in recent memory.

The League and FA Cup have not been seen as a priority under Mike Ashley's ownership, with the club's league position deemed much more important.

Under Benitez, that has changed. The Spaniard is taking the EFL Cup very seriously, and his side are now just three games away from a trip to Wembley; a stadium that Newcastle have not visited since it was rebuilt.

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