Benitez not overly pleased as Magpies see off Luton

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez was satisfied with his side’s first half display as they knocked Luton Town out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

It had looked like the Magpies chief was going to enjoy a far more comfortable afternoon after Ayoze Perez’s double and Jonjo Shelvey’s strike saw them lead 3-0 at the break.

We gave them the belief that they could score, they could put us under pressure and the it was more difficult in the second half.

Rafa Benitez

But Danny Hylton pulled one back just four minutes into the second period to give Luton hope, while the striker had another goal ruled out for offside, while Elliot Lee hit the bar, as Newcastle were given a real scare.

Benitez said: “If I say I am pleased with everything, it’s not true.

“I was really pleased with the first half, the goals that we scored, the way that we were managing the game.

“Then maybe because of that and because we were three goals up, we were a little bit more relaxed in the second half and we gave them the belief that they could score, they could put us under pressure and the it was more difficult in the second half.

“But in the end, what we wanted is to go through.”

Benitez had picked a strong wide for the clash, making just four changes, as he included Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and captain Jamaal Lascelles.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid admitted that was done to give respect to the Hatters’ achievements so far this term, adding: “I said I wanted to be sure that we didn’t have any surprises.

“When you play against teams who are doing well in another division – they are doing really well, they have a lot of confidence - sometimes you go with over-confidence and that gives you a problem.

“In the end, it was important to send a message that we wanted to do well, I said this game was important for us, to go through, to play a strong team.

“But you have to approach every game depending on your team, your injuries, your problems and at the moment, we could manage with a very strong side on the pitch.

“We did it and the fans enjoyed a good game, an emotional game. It was good.”