Newcastle United forward Ayoze Perez has explained how the team are so well drilled it didn't really matter that manager Rafa Benitez was unable to attend Sunday's win over Swansea, as the players are already incredibly well versed in his game-plans.

Benitez underwent surgery to counter an infection relating to a previous hernia operation and has since returned to work on Tyneside, but he couldn't be there in south Wales at the weekend to give team talks or bark out instructions on the sidelines.

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Not that it mattered in the end.

"Even though we not have our manager with us, we tried to make it as normal as we could. He wasn't able to be here, but even if he had been here, it would still have been tough," Perez is quoted as saying by local newspaper Shields Gazette.

"We knew what we had to do, and we did it well," the Spaniard added.


"We had a little conversation before the match, where he was saying some key things. Then after that, the rest of the staff did great work. They made sure that we controlled everything.

"We know the mentality we have to have, and that is important. We did our game plan well. It was clear what we had to do. We knew we were going to have our chances, and finally we were able to score," he continued, referring to Jamaal Lascelles' decisive second half goal.

"We were really compact all game, and doing a great job in defence. That was the main reason why we were able to get the three points."

Newcastle rose into the top half of the table as a result of the victory and Benitez will be back on the touchline for the visit of Stoke on Saturday in the next Premier League outing.