Rafa was a calm but inspired manager after our first win in 10 games yesterday at the London Stadium after going nine games when we picked up just one point.
But the team recently has been showing signs of improvement and even Rafa seemed confident of a win before yesterday’s game at West Ham.
It was a good performance from the lads, and we were surprised at the win with Henri Saivet and Mo Diame in central midfield.
But all the lads got the job done yesterday including Saivet and Diame who both scored a goal.
It was Saivet’s first goal for the club, and it was an excellent free-kick from close to 30 yards out after 10 minutes.
It was 4 minutes after he had gifted Marko Arnautovic with West Ham’s go-ahead goal after 6 minutes.
It was a terrible mistake due to rustiness and lack of match play when he passed the ball straight to the Austrian International.
Arnautovic then powered his way past Ciaran Clark before scoring.
Rafa Benitez – on the touchline yesterday
Newcastle then hit the post and the crossbar before going ahead with a breakaway goal in the second half.
It was Diame who scored after 53 minutes from an Atsu quick breakaway and cross.
And Atsu, who had a terrific second half – maybe his best ever 45 minutes in a Newcastle shirt – put the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1 after a pinpoint cross from Joselu on the left wing.
West Ham came back strongly and it was Ayew who scored on 69 minutes after missing a dubious penalty earlier.
The lads had to hang on, but we deserved the 3 points – there’s no doubt about that.
Here’s what Rafa told NBC Sports after the game yesterday:
“We needed a performance and a victory like this.”
“We were pushing really hard against Everton and hit the post twice. I am really pleased for the lads and the fans.”
“It is fantastic.”
“It was important to win to show that we could do the things we are doing.”
“We know it will be difficult to the end but we know that we can win and achieve things doing things as we are.”
It was exactly what Newcastle fans needed before Christmas – our first win in a very long and miserable 9 weeks.