Rafa Benitez was pleased with the 2 – 0 win over Southend United, reports the Chronicle.
The Newcastle boss has a reputation for being strong on the defensive side of the game and the clean sheet at Roots Hall pleased him:
I was pleased for the team because we picked up another clean sheet. We conceded just a few chances. In the Championship we have to concede even less.
Whilst keeping the unbeaten pre-season run going which is good for confidence, Rafa knows that the side needs to develop the habit of not conceding goals to put themselves into contention for the Championship title this season.
Aiming for automatic promotion is absolutely the aim but winning the division would send a strong message to the Premier League in 2017/18 that we’ve sorted ourselves out.
Rafa will have also been pleased to see Grant Hanley and Jamaal Lascelles on the pitch together. The Scot was a late substitute but that 30 minutes will be vital in forging an understanding with the captain. An hour against Arnhem on Saturday will provide a strong foundation for the partnership to build upon when the action begins in earnest.