Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has praised the impact of the club's fans after his side secured their first victory of the new Premier League season against Watford.
After an incredibly lacklustre display in the first half, Newcastle's three substitutes helped transform their fortunes after the break, with two of them combining to score the crucial goal. Ayoze Perez expertly headed home from Ki Sung-yeung's free kick midway through the second half to earn the Magpies a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
Following the game, Benitez was eager to praise his substitutes, who seemed to give Newcastle a much-needed boost. He is quoted by The Northern Echo as saying: "It is not easy when you put a player on the pitch in a difficult game. Ayoze came on in the last minute of the first half, but he knows what he has to do and he was good.
“Ki and Schar both gave the team some composure on the ball. They were competing, and doing everything we were expecting from them.
“They did really well, so credit to the three of them. They helped the team to keep the intensity, and maybe with Perez with the goal and Ki with the free-kick, to make the difference.”
He then admitted that he felt the fans did an incredible job of motivating the team, saying: "The fans have been fantastic during the whole season, and today was another example.
"The players are giving everything. We are making mistakes, starting from me, but still we are trying our best. The fans appreciate that.
“You could see that even in the worst situations, they were still behind the team. Now, we have to enjoy it and relax a little bit. We will train tomorrow, so we carry on. Hopefully, we can win more games like today because everybody was happy and that is the way for us.”