Rafa Benitez eyes cup success at Newcastle after Preston rout

Aleksandar Mitrovic takes off his shirt to celebrate his double in Newcastle's win over Preston. Picture by Frank Reid

Aleksandar Mitrovic takes off his shirt to celebrate his double in Newcastle's win over Preston. Picture by Frank Reid

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Rafa Benitez is dreaming of cup success at Newcastle United after his team blasted their way into the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

Benitez’s side beat Preston North End 6-0 at St James’s Park last night in front of a huge crowd of 49,042.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Mohamed Diame each scored twice, and Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez also found the net.

The draw for the quarter-finals will be made after tonight’s games.

United manager Benitez – whose side lead the Championship by three points – is now focused on Saturday’s league rematch against Preston at Deepdale.

“We have to wait for the draw and just think about Preston on Saturday,” said Benitez.

Aleksandar Mitrovic takes off his shirt to celebrate his double in Newcastle's win over Preston. Picture by Frank Reid

Aleksandar Mitrovic takes off his shirt to celebrate his double in Newcastle's win over Preston. Picture by Frank Reid

However, Benitez knows that few teams will fancy their chances against Newcastle, who have won their last six games in all competitions, especially on Tyneside.

“You have to understand that the difference between the Premier League and Championship is there,” said Benitez.

“But because it is a cup competition, you can never say never.”

Asked if he would like to meet former club Liverpool (who beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield last night) in the competition, Benitez added: “I have to concentrate just on Preston on Saturday.

“Wait to see what happens in the draw, and maybe after I can answer these questions.”

Diame, signed from Hull City in the summer, scored a goal in each half.

The midfielder enthused over the impressive victory and said: “The team are working well. We have a good spirit and winning mentality.

“Everyone is focused and we need to keep going.

“The manager and staff are focused to win every game.

“It doesn’t matter if it is league or cup.

“That is the way you have to do it if you want to achieve something.”