Rafa Benitez reacts to Wayne Rooney’s unpunished ‘elbow’ on Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie.
Matt Ritchie.

Rafa Benitez says he saw Wayne Rooney flatten Matt Ritchie during Newcastle United’s defeat to Everton.

Rooney – who scored the only goal of the game – appeared to catch Ritchie in the face with his elbow.

I thought maybe I was the only one that saw that.

Rafa Benitez

The incident happened in front of referee Martin Atkinson.

However, the official – who dismissed United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey late in the game for two bookable offences – didn’t punish Rooney.

Asked about the incident, United manager Benitez said: “Yes, I saw that. I saw both. I thought maybe I was the only one that saw that.”

Benitez wouldn’t be drawn on whether he felt Rooney deserved a red card.

“I will not talk about that,” said Benitez. “It doesn’t change anything.

“OK, I saw the incident. The referee decides nothing. That’s it.”

Meanwhile, Shelvey, sent off against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend of the season, has picked up an automatic two-game ban.

Asked if he was angry with Shelvey, Benitez said: “No, not at the end, as the second yellow can happen during a game.

“It was a counter attack. It was in the last minute, and you go to the floor to stop it. That can happen.

“I didn’t like the first booking when I looked back at it.

“But it’s something you can’t control. I have talked to him and he knows it’s a mistake and (he) has to learn.”