A win for Huddersfield Town earlier on in the day against Bournemouth saw the Magpies start the game in the relegation zone, and Benitez knew a win would be essential in Newcastle’s quest for Premier League safety.
After a somewhat quiet first half, Newcastle took the lead in the 64th minute after the ball fell the way of Matt Ritchie after the break.
The English winger slotted cooly past a hapless David de Gea, sending the Toon Army into raptures.
As Jose Mourinho’s men pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Benitez’s side showed their grit and determination, as they were able to keep the Red Devils at bay, securing a vital win that moves Newcastle up to 13th.
For Manchester United, another miserable away day sees Mourinho’s side failed to score again on the road, keeping them 16 points behind rivals Manchester City.
With that being said, here’s how the players rated.
Martin Dubravka – 9 – Coming in for his debut, the Slovakian made his first save on the half hour mark, and then grew from there, making a vital save from Martial to keep his side in the match. A very capable performance from the debutant who never looked out of place between the sticks.
DeAndre Yedlin – 7 – The very definition of a modern day wingback, the American international was quick getting forward, while making bustling runs to aid the Magpies’ attack.
Jamaal Lascelles – 8 – A change of partner this week, the defender produced a solid display against a very talented opposition attack. Managed to handle Lukaku well, looking resolute at the back, while also forming a solid partnership with Lejeune.
Florian Lejeune – 8 – Came in for the injured Clark, the former Manchester City defender made a goal line clearance in the 55th minute after Sanchez rounded Dubravka for an open goal. Will provide Benitez with a team selection headache when Clark is back fit, as he produced a very assured display.
Paul Dummett – 7 – Managed to get forward well down the left hand side. Produced a solid performance, while having the difficult task of keeping Sanchez quiet.
Matt Ritchie – 8 – Scored his first goal of the season after placing a shot calmly past de Gea. The winger was always willing to get forward and cause problems for the Red Devils.
Key stat: Matt Ritchie has now scored his first Premie League goal of the season and his fifth ever Premier league goal.
Key stat: Matt Ritchie’s goal was his first after 43 shots in the Premier League. The longest current run in the division without a goal.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 11, 2018
Mohamed Diamé – 8 – Formed an industrious partnership with Shelvey in the middle of the park, the Senegalese international was ruthless in the challenge, and solid while competing against a very physical Manchester United midfield.
Jonjo Shelvey – 8 – Got stuck in from minute one, the English midfielder looked really up for this match. His composure on the ball was refreshing and his pass distribution was very assured. Brilliant display.
Kenedy – 7 – Signed by Jose Mourinho for Chelsea, the Brazilian was a real livewire in the opening exchanges, making dynamic runs and causing problems for the Red Devils backline. Faded as the match went on, but was always a threat going forward.
Ayoze Pérez – 7 – Played just behind Gayle, the Spaniard always looked spearhead attacks for his side. A positive display, providing good support for Gayle upfront.
Dwight Gayle – 8 – Scored in the reverse fixture, Gayle had the difficult task of leading the line for Newcastle today. Energetic enough, and managed to get stuck in. A competent display from the forward, who provided an exceptional flick on to set up Ritchie for his goal. Made a double block to keep Martial out towards the end of the match.
Joselu (for Dwight Gayle 78) – 5 – Came on for a tired Gayle, and provided decent support up top.
Christian Atsu (for Kenedy 84) – N/A – Not enough time to really stamp his authority on the match.
Isaac Hayden (for Ayoze Pérez 94) – N/A – Again not enough time to make an impact.
David de Gea – 6 – Made a magnificent save to deny Jonjo Shelvey shot in the first five minutes, but could not keep out Matt Ritchie’s strike in the 64th minute.
Antonio Valencia – 5 – Always willing to carry the ball forward, he provided good support for Martial down the right hand side, but failed to help his side find a way back into the match.
Chris Smalling – 4 – Lucky to not give away a penalty in the first half after a dubious challenge on Gayle, while also failing to keep a clean sheet for his side, as well as picking up a yellow card for a dive in the second half that resulted in Newcastle’s goal.
Key stat: No team has had more players booked for diving in the Premier League this season than Man United (3). Valencia, Herrera & Smalling the culprits.
Chris Smalling did not win a successful tackle in the entire match against newcastle. pic.twitter.com/QCkVVk4oIO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 11, 2018
Phil Jones – 5 – Brought back into the side following a disappointing performance against Spurs, the England international did a solid enough job before his side went 1-0 down to the Magpies.
Ashley Young – 5 – An ever-present in United’s final third; the wingback never shied away from getting forward, but he could not provide enough support to help his side score today.
Nemanja Matic – 6 – Provided assurance and stability for his side by always making himself available to receive the ball. Good distribution today from the Serb, but could not stamp his authority on the match.
Paul Pogba – 5 – Looked shaky in the first 15 minutes amid concerns about an injury he sustained in the warm up, and with question marks around his ability to play in a midfield two, the Frenchman struggled this game and was eventually substituted in the 65th minute.
Anthony Martial – 4 – Down in the first minute after taking a whack to the face, but managed to pick himself up and made himself a real nuisance for the Newcastle defence in the first half. However, he missed a glorious chance to put his side one up, and also missed another fantastic opportunity to score twice when the ball fell his way from a corner.
Jesse Lingard – 5 – Decent enough performance from Lingard, always an option for his teammates, even if his final ball let him down at times today. The England international has been brilliant under Mourinho’s guidance this season, but could not help his side while he was on the pitch. Coming off in the 65th minute.
Alexis Sánchez – 7 – Looking to build on his goal last weekend, the Chilean showed energy and creativity going forward. One of United’s better performers, but could not manage to find the back of the net, even when he rounded the Newcastle keeper with the goal gaping in front of him.
Romelu Lukaku – 5 – A solid display from the Belgian, holding the ball up well while bringing his attacking teammates into the match. Unfortunately for him, he could not manage to find the back of the net to build on his goal from last week.
Juan Mata (for Paul Pogba 65) – 6 – Looked lively coming on, but could not help his side get back into the match
Michael Carrick (for Jesse Lingard 65) – 5 – Came on for his first game of the season, looked solid enough in the middle of the park.
Scott McTominay (for Nemanja Matic 77) – 5- Unlucky to lose his place this afternoon, looked calm and composed when he came on.