Fans Will Be Happy With Effort - Says Rafa

Last updated : 15 February 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez praised the attitude of his players after watching them recover from the shock of going behind to a freak goal to come away from Norwich with a 2-2 draw.

Image result for Norwich 2 Newcastle 2A pulsating encounter burst into life after just 23 seconds when poor Norwich defending allowed Jack Colback to pick out Ajose Perez, who confidently beat John Ruddy from just inside the box.

But an in-form City side got back on level terms after 10 minutes through Jacob Murphy after Jamaal Lascelles had been caught in possession before taking the lead in bizarre fashion seven minutes later.

In dashing out to make a routine clearance, keeper Karl Darlow somehow contrived to slice the ball behind him, allowing Cameron Jerome an open goal from 18 yards out.

Newcastle responded well to the setback, however, and fully deserved the point secured by a smart volleyed finish at the back post from Lascelles.

"We started really well, scored one goal and then could have scored another so it was a big shock when we went behind," Benitez said.

"There were a couple of mistakes but I told them (Lascelles and Darlow) at half-time to forget about it and just concentrate about the next 45 minutes because we were playing well against a good side, not a normal one in the Championship.

"I thought we responded brilliantly to going behind - the character of the players, and their reaction to the setbacks, was the most positive thing for me tonight.

"We had a lot of supporters in the corner and I am sure they will have enjoyed the effort the players put in.

"It was a very open game - good for the fans but perhaps not for the managers. Norwich might think differently but I think we had enough chances to have won it - but you can't always take three points and if we can take four points every two games we will go up."

The match saw the return of top scorer Dwight Gayle as a second-half substitute after a long spell out with a hamstring injury and Benitez was delighted to see him back on the field.

"He was fit to start the game but (Aleksandar) Mitrovic has been playing well and we had him on the bench. It's great news that he is back because he gives us something different up front and I thought he did well when he came on."