Benitez hails valuable win as Newcastle edge closer to 40-point target
Rafael Benitez remains focused on Newcastle United's target of 40 Premier League points, although he acknowledged the magnitude of Saturday's home win over Huddersfield Town.
It looked for a long time as though Newcastle would be frustrated at St James' Park, missing a number of early opportunities to allow the visitors to come into the game in the second half.
But Ayoze Perez struck in the 80th minute to the relief of the home crowd, sealing three points that take the Magpies seven clear of the relegation zone.
"It was an important game and we needed to win," Benitez said. "[Huddersfield] are a good team, well organised. We didn't take our chances and, in the second half, there was a risk we could be caught. We stayed calm.
"It was a great atmosphere and the team and fans together are stronger. The relationship now is really good. We can play here with confidence.
"We know how important every point is - 40 points is the target. If you can win, great - if you cannot, make sure the other team can't."
And Benitez hailed Kenedy's coolness in the final third after the Brazilian teed up Perez's strike with 10 minutes remaining.
He added: "Sometimes the pressure or excitement doesn't allow you to think clearly - with Kenedy, you know he can do that."
Despite seeing his side largely outplayed on Tyneside, Huddersfield's David Wagner felt missed chance were the cause of their demise.
"It's a disappointing result for us," he said. "We aimed to frustrate them and hurt them on the counter-attack. That worked better in the second half after we had some problems.
"We had two big chances in the second half, from [Mathias Jorgensen] on the set-piece and at the end with Scott Malone. We didn't use our chances and that is why we've lost the game."