Rafael Benitez relieved as Newcastle finally earn first win of the season
Ayoze Perez came off the bench to fire the Magpies to their first win of the season.
Rafael Benitez was relieved after seeing Newcastle claim their first Premier League win of the season at the 11th attempt against high-flying Watford.
The Magpies rode their luck as they battled their way to a 1-0 victory over the Hornets at St James’ Park.
It was Newcastle’s first point at home this season and came despite losing Yoshinori Muto, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey to injury before the hour mark.
Manager Benitez said: “I will say that so many games, there were so many things that we were trying to do in a different way with players, analysing everything, and still we couldn’t get three points when I think we deserved to get the three points in a couple of games or maybe more – Cardiff, Manchester United, Brighton, they were very clear.
“It was a pity, but today we won. There’s a little bit of relief and we can enjoy it, but keep working hard because (next opponents) Bournemouth are also another team that is in form and it will be difficult.”
Ayoze Perez’s 65th-minute header from Ki Sung-yueng’s driven free-kick won it for Newcastle.
But Watford will have left Tyneside frustrated with themselves after Gerard Deulofeu passed up two first-half opportunities, Roberto Pereyra rattled the crossbar and substitute Stefano Okaka missed from close range.
It was just what the home side needed after another bruising week on Tyneside which left Benitez and skipper Lascelles calling for a united front.
Benitez said: “The fans have been fantastic during the whole season and today was another example. The players are giving everything. We are making mistakes, starting from me, but still we are trying our best and the fans appreciate that.
“You could see even in the worst situation, still they were behind the team. Now we have to enjoy it and relax a little bit.
“We will train tomorrow, so we carry on and hopefully we can win more games like today because everybody was happy and that is the way for us.”
Watford manager Javi Gracia bemoaned his side’s finishing.
“If you don’t score, if you don’t kill the game when you have the chance to do it, you know afterwards something like today maybe can happen,” he said.
“If you ask me about the game or the result, I can be disappointed with the result today because we did many things well.
“But I can’t be disappointed with my players because in the first half, we created more chances – not chances, we created clear chances – to score from different players, from different situations and we didn’t score.
“We dominated the first half – we played much better in the first half than in the second – but creating the chances we have done today and playing away against Newcastle, it’s difficult to create so many chances like today.”