Benitez relieved after fielding strong team against Luton

Date published: Saturday 6th January 2018 6:39

Rafa Benitez was pleased with Newcastle United’s first-half performance during their 3-1 victory over Luton in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

The Spaniard fielded as close to his strongest XI as he dared for the third-round clash after admitting during the run-up to the game that top-flight survival was his overwhelming priority for the season.

He was rewarded with a victory in front of a crowd of 47,069 at St James’ Park but admits their second-half display could have been better.

“I said in the news conference we wanted to approach the game with a strong team to make sure we were going through,” said Benitez.

“First half we finished really well. We were 3-0 up, maybe it’s harder to keep concentration in the second half.

“They scored and maybe had belief they could then score more. We had chances to finish the game. The first half was quite good, a lot of possession, passing and good goals.

“In the second half we needed more experience to manage these games. Keep the ball and then a fourth goal would have finished it but we couldn’t do it.”

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