Newcastle gave their survival hopes a huge lift as they stunned Manchester United 1-0 at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Matt Ritchie scored the winner after 65 minutes – his first Premier League goal of the season – after Dwight Gayle’s clever lay-off found him in plenty of space to slot past David de Gea.
Anthony Martial had Man Utd’s best chances but he was denied by debutant goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the first half and then saw two shots blocked on the line in quick succession in the 77th minute. Alexis Sanchez also saw an effort blocked after taking the ball past Dubravka.
Newcastle: Dubravka (8), Dummett (7), Lascelles (7), Lejeune (7), Yedlin (7), Shelvey (8), Kenedy (6), Diame (7), Perez (6), Ritchie (7), Gayle (6)
Subs: Hayden (5), Joselu (5), Atsu (5)
Manchester United: De Gea (6), Valencia (5), Jones (6), Smalling (5), Young (5), Matic (6), Pogba (5), Lingard (5), Martial (5), Sanchez (6), Lukaku (7)
Subs: Mata (5), Carrick (5), McTominay (5)
Man of the match: Jonjo Shelvey
The win is Newcastle’s first at home since October 21 and moves them out of the relegation zone into 13th place, while Man Utd stay 16 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Defeat also leaves Man Utd embroiled in the battle for the top four, with only a six-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea, who play West Brom on Monday Night Football.
Mourinho has still never won a Premier League match at St James’ Park (P7 W0 D3 L4) and has managed more away league games at Newcastle without winning than at any other club in his managerial career
Newcastle made a positive start as Jonjo Shelvey’s strike was pushed away by David de Gea and Ayoze Perez shot narrowly wide.
But the visitors soon settled and Dubravka had to tip an effort from Jesse Lingard around the post before denying Martial when he was through on goal.
That was to be the best opening of the first half, with Martial also heading wide from a cross and Newcastle seeing strong penalty appeals waved away when Chris Smalling appeared to take out Dwight Gayle on the corner of the box.
Man Utd started strongly after the break and Sanchez spurned a chance to score the opener when he took the ball around Dubravka but didn’t shoot first time, allowing Florian Lejeune to get back and block.
Newcastle took the lead less than 10 minutes later. Smalling was booked for diving and, from the resulting free-kick, Lejeune headed across goal where Gayle laid off for Ritchie to fire in unmarked.
January signing Dubravka made his debut in goal for Newcastle while Lejeune started in place of Clark. There was no place in the squad for Slimani, who remains out with an injury.
For Manchester United, Pogba, Jones, Martial and Young returned to the starting XI in place of Mata, Rojo, McTominay and Shaw.
The advantage would not be relinquished despite strong Man Utd pressure, with Dubravka saving from Ashley Young and Martial seeing two shots blocked on the line after a corner fell to him six yards out.
There was to be one final chance with almost the last kick of the match but Dubravka capped a fine debut by reacting sharply to tip away Michael Carrick’s shot.
- Jose Mourinho has now lost six times against Rafa Benitez in all competitions, only against Pep Guardiola (9) has he suffered more defeats as a manager.
- Newcastle enjoyed their first win in nine Premier League home games (D3 L5), since beating Crystal Palace in October.
- Manchester United have lost five games in the Premier League this season, equalling their tally for the whole of last season.
- Matt Ritchie ended a run of 43 shots this season without scoring in the Premier League, which was the longest such run in the division.
- Man Utd have won only one of the nine Premier League matches this season after conceding the opening goal of the game (D3 L5), courtesy of a 4-1 win v Newcastle in November.
- Manchester United have had three players booked for dives in the Premier League this season (Valencia, Herrera, Smalling), a joint high along with Bournemouth.
Rafa Benitez: “When you play a top side like Manchester United you know every ball is important because if you make a mistake they will punish you. You have to work like they did today, it was an amazing effort.”
Jose Mourinho: “They [Newcastle] fought like animals, that’s a good word in football, and I hope they understand it as a compliment. They have everything they had and then the gods of football were with them. But they fought like animals to have luck on their side…They must have the best feeling of all, sometimes a better feeling than when you play fantastically well and you are better than the opponent.”
Man of the match – Jonjo Shelvey
Dubravka produced a superb display on his debut, looking assured in his handling and making several key saves.
But Shelvey takes the honours for a fantastic all-round performance. He was composed on the ball, picked out a number of good passes and also defended well. He made more passes (54) than any other Newcastle player, more tackles (four) and had more touches (84).
It was Shelvey’s fifth win in his last seven appearances against Manchester United and he played a crucial part in securing the result.
Newcastle are not in action again until Saturday, February 24 when they go to Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Manchester United travel to Huddersfield in the fifth round of the FA Cup next Saturday and then go to Sevilla in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, February 21.