Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez admits return to dugout was not easy
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 17/09/17 9:00pm
Rafael Benitez admitted he could not get too agitated after returning to the dugout to witness his Newcastle side beat Stoke 2-1 on Saturday.
The Magpies boss missed last week's victory at Swansea as he recovered from a hernia operation, but he was back at St James' Park to oversee their third straight Premier League victory, which lifted them up to fourth in the table.
Benitez opted to take a backseat role against Stoke, passing on messages to first-team coach Mikel Antia who dished out the instructions.
And it proved to be a happy return for Benitez as Jamaal Lascelles headed in the winner after Xherdan Shaqiri had cancelled out Christian Atsu's opener.
"It's not easy, because you are watching your team but cannot get too agitated or shout too much," Benitez told Sky Sports after the match.
"So in the end, you're just passing on messages. They did a great job against Swansea, and they continued doing the same here.
"It's always good when you win and especially when the team is working so hard. Hopefully we can continue this mentality.
"What is important for us was to start winning, and now it's to keep the momentum.
"We have to make sure we don't play without confidence, or lose our way in the week, so we have to keep working hard. We know what we have in the squad and we know working like this we can win games."
Newcastle were dominant against Stoke, but after Atsu fired in his first Premier League goal, the Potters levelled through Shaqiri after Joselu had missed a hat-trick of chances.
Joselu was looking to prove a point against his former employers, but ultimately came up short and was replaced by Dwight Gayle after captain Lascelles' winner.
"Joselu knows that he has to keep improving his match fitness but we are happy with him, he is doing a great job for us," Benitez added.
"He has competition up front with Gayle as well. They want to play and that's a way to improve the team."