Rafa Benitez reacts after Newcastle 'risk' everything - and get their rewards

Tonight's clash sees the Championship's top-two face off, as the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League gathers pace.

The Seagulls have the best home record in the division, having lost just once at the Amex this season, while Newcastle have the best away record.

"A lot of things are against us, but the reaction of the team was good", Benitez said.

"But I still feel that April will be the crucial month".

"At times we didn't keep possession as well as we have in other games".

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez are the ones to make way, both dropping to the bench, while top goalscorer Dwight Gayle remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.

However, the Ivorian scored Villa's 54th minute opener and then set up Conor Hourihane's first goal for the club in the 59th minute as Villa put nine points between themselves and a struggling City side now without a win in their last five.

"There was a risk of being caught on the counter, but we created chances and we have to be pleased with the teamwork".

United go to Huddersfield on Saturday, followed by a journey to fifth-placed Reading on Tuesday, 7 March.

"At the moment it is a nice feeling and we are on the back of two very good victories in the last two games". "Three hard away games but we've been in good form away from home". It is the sort of pressure you want, at this end of the table.

Hughton, who led Newcastle to promotion in 2010, said: "We know our level will have to be high to beat Newcastle". He got a second consecutive start, and was a handful for Brighton to deal with.

Full-backs Gaetan Bong (knee) and Liam Rosenior (ankle) are edging closer to returns but centre-back Connor Goldson (heart) is out for the season.

  • Julie Sanders