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  1. ITV Report

Matt Ritchie's strike sinks Manchester Utd at Newcastle

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez says he was proud of the way his team fought to beat Manchester United yesterday.

Matt Ritchie's strike saw Newcastle beat Manchester United at St James' Park in a precious win that lifted Rafa Benitez's side out of the relegation zone.

Life in the north-east has not been easy this season with problems off the pitch compounded by struggles on it, but Magpies boss Rafael Benitez oversaw a victory to cherish against old foe Mourinho on Sunday.

Ritchie struck the decisive blow as relegation-threatened Newcastle picked up a much-needed 1-0 victory, digging deep to end an eight-match winless streak at St James' Park as Manchester United lost a second successive away game.

Mourinho has now failed to win at St James' Park in all seven of his Premier League visits, while the result surely ends any residual hope of a late title push.

We knew that they had won and at the same time, we knew we needed to try to win the game, that's it.

We were very close in a lot of games, but we were unlucky; today, we were working even harder if it's possible and then we were a little but lucky at the end.

But it wasn't because they won that we needed to win. We needed to win anyway and my message to our players before the game was to forget about the other games, just concentrate on this one and try to get three points."

– Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United manager

Ritchie's decisive strike came in the midst of a storm as United attempted to turn the screw, and it could hardly have been more timely on a day when Huddersfield's earlier win had plunged Benitez's men into the bottom three.

They fought like animals - and animal is a good word in football and I hope they take it as a compliment.

I think first of all that the Newcastle United players and obviously staff, they gave what they have and what they don't have and I think that's a beautiful thing in football.

I think they came here today to fight for a point, but they found themselves in the position of winning 1-0 and in that moment, they went over all the limits of the effort, of the sacrifice, of everything a manager likes to see in his team.

I saw that in my team at 1-0, that desire to play and to try and to go until the last seconds, which we did.

I can imagine that [Rafael] Benitez is more than pleased with the efforts of his players. Were they lucky? Yes, they were, yes, they were. But sometimes you attract that luck with your state of mind and at 1-0, the Newcastle players fought for their lives and I think that's a beautiful thing in football."

– Jose Mourinho, Manchester United manager

The relegation-threatened Magpies were indebted to fine goalkeeping from debutant Martin Dubravka and some last-ditch defending as the visitors launched an onslaught.