JAMAAL LASCELLES is hoping Newcastle United’s 1-0 win at Swansea City will have provided the perfect pick-me-up to the club’s under-the-weather manager Rafael Benitez.

Benitez was unable to travel to the Liberty Stadium as he continues to recuperate from an operation to cure an infection that has developed in the wake of previous hernia surgery.

The Magpies manager had hoped to be fit enough to fly to today’s game via helicopter, but having missed four days of training last week, was forced to admit defeat and remain at his family home on the Wirral.

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He was in contact with first-team coach Antonio Gomez Perez, who then relayed his instructions to Paco de Miguel Moreno in the technical area, and along with Mikel Antia, the quartet successfully oversaw Newcastle’s first away win of the season.

Lascelles’ 76th-minute header proved decisive, with the defender also sliding in at the other end to prevent Tammy Abraham rolling the ball into an empty net, and the Magpies skipper is hoping Benitez will be feeling a little better after watching the game unfold.

“The manager rang me this morning and told me to make sure the boys were on it,” said Lascelles. “Hopefully, he gets well soon and gets back with us.

“We have set a standard now. We will be hard to beat back home, and if we play like this every week, we will do well. It is down to us to bring it every week.”

Benitez spoke with Lascelles prior to the game, and also spoke with Newcastle’s jubilant players shortly after the final whistle.

It remains to be seen whether he is passed fit to return to training this week, but having constantly insisted that his coaching team are every bit as important to Newcastle’s fortunes as he is, today’s victory proved the value of a closely-knit backroom group.

“This is definitely what we wanted to deliver to Rafa,” said Paco, who is effectively Benitez’s number two despite having the official title of fitness coach. “We are very glad because we planned the game in a way to try and win the three points, and we did it.

“Rafa stayed at home and it’s what we wanted. We don't want to risk anything with him, with his help, and also to do the job and give Newcastle three points.

“He rang after the game and has congratulated everybody, especially the players because they have done a massive job and we are very happy for the performance. He's very happy as well and hopefully he is joining us next week.

“He was talking with us (during the game). Antonio was talking to Mikel, who was on the touchline, and Antonio was communicating with Rafa. So between the four of us we were making a plan of communication and it worked perfectly.”

Newcastle’s defensive display was the key to their success, with Swansea restricted to a handful of chances despite dominating possession for long periods.

Lascelles and Ciaran Clark were superb at the heart of defence, with Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden equally effective at the heart of midfield. It was a true team effort, though, with each and every Newcastle player running themselves into the ground in order to secure three points.

“I think we were very serious as a team,” said Paco. “We were very compact, playing as a team, working hard together. Also we were very concerned about their style of game because they like to have the ball, to have the possession, they try to play dissecting passes, and we stopped them in that very well.

“They played with two strikers which is very difficult to manage, but we did it. So these are very good things, and we were I think very balanced between defence and attack too. So we are very happy with the defence and attack.”

Lascelles’ header was ultimately the difference, with the centre-half leaping above Alfie Mawson to convert Matt Ritchie’s corner with 14 minutes left.

“I am not a fan of zonal marking, so to see them set up like that, I thought we’d get chances,” said Lascelles. “Matt Ritchie has a great delivery and it was my job to get on the end of it.

“These are the teams we need to beat. They are a good side, but we were the better team on the day. The Premier League is tough, and that is why we need to be on it every week.”