IT is typical of Rafa Benitez to not get carried away and there was certainly no sense of that when the Newcastle United manager refused to lavish praise on a couple of his match-winners on Saturday afternoon.

There’s an old saying in football that ‘you’re only as good as your last game’ and that was the message Benitez was keen to ram home as he discussed the Magpies’ second straight win against Bournemouth.

Given it took Newcastle 11 games to record a win this season, it is understandable.

Two of the biggest influences in Newcastle’s victory were at the top and bottom end of the pitch, and both arrived in the summer from clubs relegated from the Premier League.

While Federico Fernandez did what he could defensively to frustrate England new-boy Callum Wilson, Salomon Rondon was turning in the sort of attacking display reminiscent of the club’s No 9s of yesteryear.

Rondon, particularly, showed exactly the sort of quality that Benitez has been desperate for. Not only did he score twice in the first half, the second an Alan Shearer-esque header, he also led the line and offered the sort of work-rate his manager has craved ever since taking on the Newcastle job.

The challenge now is for them to repeat that, and that is why Benitez won’t suddenly think Newcastle are a different proposition after two victories over Watford and Bournemouth at St James’ Park.

“When you sign people, they are not judged on one game,” said Benitez.

“They are playing well. You are trying to sign players who, in your opinion, will be good for the team. They have experience of the Premier League and they can help the players around them.

“It is good for everyone who was involved in the process. We had a clear idea of what we wanted and what we needed, this is confirmation they can give us something, they are doing what we expected, but I still think there are areas they can improve.”

He added: “We knew about the conditions to sign Rondon, the release clause, and at that price, to get a player with his experience and his level in the Premier League, it is not easy.

“We had a list of players and we knew about his mentality and that he could bring something different. It was not a case of saying he was our number one priority. If you ask me, would I sign Alan Shearer now for £50m, I would do it.”

It was Rondon’s excellence that really caught the eye. The 29-year-old was always going to be pivotal to Newcastle’s attempts to stay up after his arrival in the summer, but the standard of his display on Saturday highlighted to everyone just how crucial he will be.

He was outstanding. From the moment he turned in his first Premier League goal for the club in the seventh minute at the second attempt following a strong run and cross from DeAndre Yedlin, he just grew in confidence and stature.

And that only increased when he worked his way ahead of Nathan Ake six minutes before half-time to power an unstoppable header into the top corner from Kenedy’s fantastic left-wing delivery. The crossfield pass to Kenedy from another improving summer recruit, Ki Sung-yueng, should not be overlooked either.

Rondon displayed power, high work-rate and an ability to hold up play after the restart to prove his worth in exactly the sort of manner Benitez always talked of when he looked to replace Aleksandar Mitrovic. If he was to keep that up it would be no surprise to see Newcastle try to sign him permanently.

Benitez said: “Now is not the time to talk about that, just enjoy the goals he scored. I have no idea about the terms of the contract, but if he keeps scoring two goals a game, of course …

“I don’t know the terms of the contract or when we discuss that. I’m not that interested, if he keeps scoring goals, Lee Charnley will be looking at the terms of the contract and worrying about that.”

While it is only one exceptional performance from Rondon so far, the strange thing is that had Benitez had more money to spend in the summer then Rondon might not have been top of his wish-list. Or would he?

“He was the number one target because of the price,” said Benitez. “I liked the player, I was in contact with his agent and in contact with his agent working on the possibility.

“It was more difficult, but when West Brom were so interested in Dwight Gayle, we knew there was a possibility because we had the second striker with pace and mobility in Yoshinori Muto at the same time. It was a chance to get a second striker with experience of the Premier League.”

Rondon’s opener got Newcastle off to the perfect start, even though they did have to withstand some early pressure from Bournemouth. Jordon Ibe ought to have put the visitors ahead before that, but Paul Dummett was alert to charge across and block when it looked certain.

It was an entertaining game throughout because both teams showed a willingness to attack. Rondon’s second didn’t arrive until the 39th minute, though, when he powered in his header, which had the St James’ Park crowd purring.

Bournemouth, who lost Adam Smith in the first half due to a serious knee injury, pulled one back in the sixth minute of added time when Jefferson Lerma got ahead of Ki to head in Ryan Fraser’s corner.

After the restart there were chances at both ends. Martin Dubravka and Asmir Begovic had to make strong saves, while there were other opportunities wasted.

Even though Rondon saw a late chance for a hat-trick denied by Begovic, Newcastle had done enough to secure back-to-back wins and a third consecutive clean sheet for the first time since 2014 under Alan Pardew.

Benitez, whose side face Burnley two weeks today, said: “When you are so close to the other teams, any win is massive, two wins is even more important.

“I think the international break is bad for us, but at the same time it gives us time to recover and spend time with our families.

“We can come back with more energy and if we can get another couple of good results, I’ve always said November and December will be so important for us.

“I was saying before, we were doing well in games, we were solid. When I was talking last week about looking back at my notes, staying calm was one of the main things.”

And, for the first time in a while, there was not even a hint of protest against owner Mike Ashley, who was again watching from the directors’ box.

Benitez added: “One hundred per cent the fans were behind us. They knew the importance. They appreciate the commitment of the players. That is the key. If we keep united, we will be stronger.

“It is like this is in history, the Romans had bread and circus and everybody is happy. Now it is football, now it is goals and wins.”