After the game this afternoon, which was very even between two sides who did not show much creativity, manager Rafa Benitez has pointed out in games like this – it’s even more important to get a win.
We were nowhere near our best this afternoon, but we were solid at the back and managed to get a clean sheet although Palace had their chances to score, especially in the first half.
It was a good goal from Mikel Merino with just 4 minutes to play that got us the 3 points when the Spanish U21 International headed the ball past Julian Sperino unchallenged from a good Matt Ritchie corner.
Rafa Benitez – smiling as he arrives for the game today
Rafa has brought in players with very good character who stuck to their tasks this afternoon and that doggedness was rewarded when we got the winner late in the game.
This is what Rafa Benitez said after the game as reported in the Chronicle:
“In this case, without playing at the level at which we have been playing in the past, it’s even more important for us to get three points.”
“The way that we scored, good delivery, good determination from Merino, that is also really important to show the character of the team.”
“And until the end we were trying to control, to attack, to push and that is what we have to do.
“We knew when he (Mikel Merino) was in Osasuna he was strong in corners,” “We knew about this option.”
“It’s not the main thing, the best thing he can do because he can pass the ball and he has scored for Spain’s Under-21s with his feet.”
“Could we play a little bit better? Maybe, but Palace were well-organized, they have confidence, they have pace, good counter-attack.”
“So it was important for us to keep them at the bottom of the table by winning against them.”
“When you win a game you have to be really pleased.”
Next up is Burnley a week on Monday evening away.
They lost 3-0 today at Manchester City who go 5 points clear at the top of the table with a goal difference of 28 from their 9 games.
Manchester United didn’t turn up at Huddersfield today and the newly promoted side got a famous and well deserved 2-1 win.
Good for the Terriers – as all 3 promoted sides won in this round of games with Brighton winning 3-0 at West Ham last night.