Jamal Lascelles defends Newcastle United team-mate Joselu

The Magpies managed to secure a 2-1 victory over the Potters on Saturday, with Lascelles once again bagging the victor after the defender also notched up the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Swansea City.

"We are an ambitious bunch of players, a really tight group of lads, and we're friends".

Rafael Benitez has warned his players' such profligacy will be punished by the Premier League's top teams.

While skipper Jamaal Lascelles saved the day by scoring the victor with 20 minutes left to give Newcastle a third straight victory, Benitez was far from pleased at his side's wastefulness.

The United captain perceives it as Newcastle having certain advantages and especially the level of commitment: "We've got the right mentality, we've got the talent".

"We'd be looking around asking, 'Who's going to step up?' It's not like that now". We need to keep that and the only way we do that is through grit, determination and hard work.

"We've been watching videos of Newcastle and then we concede an identical goal to theirs last week".

"We felt comfortable in the second half and when we scored we thought we could go on and win the game".

The Spaniard was getting into good positions in the penalty area, but lacked in finishing to convert any solid chances.

The 23-year-old, who is set to have his contract extended until 2022, told BBC Sport of how the boss makes the team demand so much from each other that there are often arguments during drilling sessions, while tempers could flare as things get heated up and "nasty". "We'll try and get him ready for the weekend. Sometimes we have some problems, but with the chances we can create we know they can give us the points".

  • Fernando Stephens