Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd: ‘Jose Mourinho was wrong, the Magpies did not get lucky’

Match of the Day 2 analysis

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was totally wrong when he said Newcastle played for a draw and relied on luck to beat his side on Sunday.

The only thing Mourinho was right about in his post-match interview was that the Magpies players worked incredibly hard for their victory.

Rafa Benitez’s side thoroughly deserved their win because they defended better than Manchester United, they dominated midfield and they did what United could not do, which was score.

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Reds could have played for 10 hours and not scored – Mourinho
Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd: ‘Jose Mourinho was wrong, the Magpies did not get lucky’
Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd: ‘Jose Mourinho was wrong, the Magpies did not get lucky’

Yes, United created some chances and Newcastle’s new goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had an incredible game on his debut.

But Mourinho relies on his goalkeeper David de Gea to get them a point sometimes – like at Anfield earlier this season, for example.

Mourinho would not tell you there was anything fluky about that result, and the same goes for the way the Magpies earned their win. They were everything but lucky, in fact.

From start to finish, it was a brilliant all-round team performance from Newcastle, and it would be unfair to just pick out one performance because there were so many that stood out.

In contrast, Manchester United showed why they are so far behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, as they struggled all over the pitch.

Top of the Premier League table snapshot: Man City 1st, Man Utd in 2nd, Liverpool 3rd, Tottenham 4th, Chelsea in 5th and Arsenal 6th

How Newcastle got their fans going from the start

Newcastle had slid into the bottom three before kick-off because of Huddersfield’s win over Bournemouth earlier in the day.

Swansea had also moved above the Magpies in the table with their win over Burnley on Saturday, so it became hugely important that they got something out of the game, and their attitude was exactly what was required.

As well as picking up three much-needed points and climbing from 18th to 13th in the table, the way they did it should give them a huge boost of confidence, which is something they have been lacking at home and is one of the reasons they have been struggling there.

Premier League table snapshot: Newcastle 13th, Brighton in 14th, Crystal Palace 15th, Swansea 16th, Huddersfield in 17th and Southampton 18th.
Newcastle are 13th in the table but are only two points above the relegation zone

The Newcastle fans definitely helped but the way the players went after Manchester United in the first 10 minutes lifted the whole stadium and got the crowd going from the start.

Benitez played with two up front in Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez, which was a really attacking approach anyway, and the high-tempo start the whole team made set the tone for the rest of the game.

We used to try to do something similar at St James’ Park when I was a Newcastle player because we knew if we really took the game to the opposition early on then it created a really positive atmosphere from the start.

I understand why this Newcastle side has not been doing it at every home game, because Benitez knows the limitations of the squad he has got.

St James’ Park is also a difficult environment to play in at the moment because of what is going on behind the scenes, with so many of the fans desperate for the owner Mike Ashley to leave.

But now the players have shown what they can do and they also know what kind of response they will get.

Newcastle are going to need to produce more home performances like this one in the next few months if they are going to stay up but, with the backing of that crowd, they have got a very good chance.

Newcastle fans at St James' Park on Sunday
“You saw different players in the Newcastle shirt against Manchester United,” Shearer said on MOTD2. “You saw them stand up and become bigger and better players because of the atmosphere. They have now got to do that against the so-called smaller clubs when the pressure is on them a little bit to try to attack.”

The fans know what Benitez is going through

I don’t think there has ever been any doubt that the Newcastle players have been giving their all for the shirt all season. The question has just been whether they have got enough ability to get out of trouble.

In the games I have seen, they have all worked extremely hard but one of the reasons they got the win on Sunday is that they also produced some quality when it mattered too.

Newcastle XI v Man Utd
“Diame and Shelvey were absolutely magnificent,” Shearer said on MOTD2. “They combined so well together, covered every blade of grass and gave everything you want from midfielders – whether that was protection of the back four or sliding passes into the forwards. They worked their socks off for 90 minutes.”

As well as Dubravka in goal, Jamaal Lascelles was magnificent, and Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame bossed midfield to the extent that United’s big-hitters, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, were both taken off.

Newcastle had chances for more goals – De Gea made a world-class save to deny Shelvey – and they should have had a penalty when Chris Smalling fouled Gayle.

Man Utd XI v Newcastle
“Shelvey and Diame totally and utterly controlled the midfield against Matic and Pogba so that Mourinho took them both off,” added Shearer. “They were driving and pulling Newcastle forward and feeding their forward players.”

And, when Manchester United came back at them, they also defended brilliantly when they had to. One of the things Benitez has spoken about in the past is a lack of experience to see games out but they managed that on Sunday.

Benitez himself deserves huge credit for that, for the way he organised and motivated his team.

It has been a tough season for Newcastle but they have got the right man in charge, there is no doubt about that.

I think he is doing a magnificent job and the vast majority of fans are with him and know what he is going through, and having to put up with.

I was not surprised the club did not spend more money in the January transfer window because of what was going on in the background with the failed takeover, and I know Benitez wanted to strengthen his squad more than he did.

But two of the three signings he did make – Kenedy and Dubravka – have been excellent, and hopefully Islam Slimani will have the same impact in attack when he is fit.

Newcastle need goals to go with their spirit and resilience

Bottom of the Premier League table snapshot: Crystal Palace in 15th, Swansea in 16th, Huddersfield 17th, Southampton 18th, Stoke 19th and West Brom 20th
Who will go down? Shearer says it will be West Brom, Stoke and Huddersfield or Crystal Palace

It has been obvious all season that Newcastle need more firepower and, although it worked against Manchester United, scoring one goal will not get them a win every week.

It was not enough against Burnley in their previous home game when Newcastle created lots of chances and missed a penalty, only to see their 1-0 lead pegged back in the final few minutes.

The reason they managed to hold on this time was down to their spirit and resilience, which are both positives, but they are going to need more goals to go with that too.

This was a brilliant win, but it remains incredibly tight at the bottom of the table and there is a lot more work to do.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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