Rafa Benitez “preached” to the Newcastle United squad that they must to learn how to retain their focus for full 90-minute matches, DeAndre Yedlin has revealed.
That result made it successive home wins for Newcastle, following on from the 1-0 victory over Manchester United at St James’ Park last month, and the Magpies are now 13th in the table, five points clear of the drop zone.
While Newcastle were guilty of throwing away a two-goal lead to only draw against AFC Bournemouth last month, they were clinical against Southampton - with a brace from Kenedy and a Matt Ritchie strike delivering all three points.
In the build-up to the game, Benitez repeatedly stressed to his squad the need to be clinical and retain their concentration levels for the full 90 minutes in order to win Premier League matches.
“That’s one of the things that Rafa kind of preached, that we needed to focus for the whole game and not just 80 minutes or even 85 minutes,” Yedlin replied when it was put to him that Newcastle had killed the game off against Southampton, unlike against Bournemouth.
“It needs to be for 90 or 93 minutes, or whatever it might be. It needs to be for the whole game.
“That’s what we did. We stayed on top of them, stayed high. At 3-0 up we were staying high. It shows that we’re progressing and it’s come at a good time.
“It was very important. Obviously not only for the points, but to keep the momentum going. Two wins in two here, two big wins.
“It was good that we didn’t give up any goals and kept clean sheets in both games that we played here.
“We’re obviously very happy with the result, and are focused on the next game.”
Yedlin admits it was crucial United claimed all three points heading into their 21-gap without a fixture.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s always a wonderful stadium to play in, and the fans were unbelievable again,” Yedlin said of St James’ Park.
“We really fed off their energy, and they helped keep us going. We can’t thank them enough."