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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez fined £60k for praising referee

Matt Ritchie hit home the only goal of the game for Newcastle as they downed Man United last February.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been fined £60,000 ($78,576) after he praised a referee ahead of a Premier League game at Crystal Palace last month.

The FA said the Spaniard's comments during his Friday news conference before the Sept. 22 match at Selhurst Park had constituted "improper conduct and/or brought the game into disrepute."

FA rules bar managers from talking about specific referees before a game and Benitez had accepted the charge.

"I have a lot of confidence in Andre Marriner," Benitez had said of the official. "He has experience, even if his record with our players is not the best in terms of red cards.

"I'm confident he is a very good referee with a lot of experience and he will deal with the situation in a normal way."

Benitez was responding to comments made by Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, who had complained that he was not being given enough protection by referees.

The match ended in a goalless draw, with United yet to win in the league this season.

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