RAFAEL BENITEZ has praised Joselu’s impact with Newcastle United this season – and claimed he would had had to spend £25m to secure an upgrade on the striker.

Joselu cost just £5m when he moved from Stoke City in the summer, but his goal in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City took him to four for the season.

The Spaniard had only been on the field for four minutes when he turned neatly in the area before drilling a low shot past Lukasz Fabianski, and his clinical finish stood in marked contrast to the erratic efforts produced by Dwight Gayle in the first half.

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Joselu has not always looked like a natural finisher this term, but his work rate and commitment have never been in doubt and Benitez feels he has more than repaid the money that was shelled out to sign him.

Benitez said: “In this new world that football is in now, where everything is so expensive, we knew that he could score goals and make a contribution. He is doing that.

“Can he score more goals? Yes. But maybe we would have to pay £25m or something like that. He is doing a great job for the team, and is working really hard. He is scoring goals and I am quite happy with him.

“His attitude has been really good.  It is not just if you score goals – everybody is expecting that a striker has to score goals – but in a team like us that might not create as many chances as you want, then they have to work hard.

“All of them are doing that. At the same time, he has scored some goals, so that is positive. His attitude and behaviour has been positive the whole season.”

Joselu’s 68th-minute strike cancelled out Jordan Ayew’s second-half opener for Swansea City, and ensured Newcastle remain three points clear of the relegation zone even though they have dropped to 14th position.

Benitez was generally satisfied with his players’ performance, although there were aspects of their second-half display that left him frustrated.

He said: “I liked the team in the first half, and the chances that we created. I was disappointed because we didn’t take the chances, and also to concede a goal in the way that we conceded the goal, but I was quite happy with the reaction of the team.

“We were very positive, and had a real intensity and determination to try to score. We were trying to win the game, but I didn’t like the last five minutes when we were making some wrong decisions and giving them the chance to get a counter-attack. There were a lot of positives, and some negatives that we have to correct as soon as possible.”

Benitez played down Jonjo Shelvey’s frustrated reaction to his 82nd-minute substitution. Shelvey threw his hands in the air as his number was displayed by the fourth official, and refused Benitez’s offer of a handshake as he left the field, but his manager was not concerned by the midfielder’s actions.

He said: “When you are not winning a game like this one, so important, any player has to be disappointed if they do not continue playing. But we have to make the substitutions and that is it. I didn’t have any problems with what he did.”