Premier League leaders Liverpool failed to fully capitalise on Manchester City's defeat the previous night as they were held 1-1 at home by Leicester City on Wednesday while below them the top-four fight took another twist.
Jurgen Klopp urged his players not to let the pressure affect them after Liverpool squandered the chance to increase the heat on Manchester City.
For a while, it looked to be going that way.
Newcastle hit back in the 66th minute when Salomon Rondon fired home before Matt Ritchie scored the victor from the spot after Fernandinho had fouled Sean Longstaff in the area.
Benitez's name was loudly sung around the stadium at full-time, with the win being a real coup for a relegation threatened Newcastle side. I think everyone agrees it could have been a penalty but I don't know why it was not given.
"Every game is a challenge to see what you can do better and sometimes there are ups and downs during the season for the players".
It seems as if United fans are stuck between a rock and a very hard place as far as the Premier League title race is concerned, with two of their rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City, involved in a two-horse battle.
"But you are asking a team that's lost just one game all season to drop that many points between now and the end of the season, so it's going to be hard".
Option No.3 - none of them, but if I had to choose then City for sure!
"We were good enough in the end to score two goals, lucky enough because they didn't take one or two chances when we gave the ball away in the first half", Benitez said.
But in the league, if you look at the form, it just hasn't been great. "We could not win, because we were not at our best, that's all". Raheem Sterling's "tackles attempted" can not tell us what would have happened had someone more aggressive been wide right to take on, disrupt, tackle or foul Matt Ritchie before he crossed the ball into the box, before Sane missed his header.
All 30 of Salomon Rondon's Premier League goals have been scored from inside the box - of current Premier League players, only Javier Hernandez (49) has netted more with 100 per cent being from inside the area.