Benitez was particularly happy with the character shown by his players to battle to the three points, taking them to 14 for the season and now back into the top six of the division after nine games.
"When you win a game you have to be really pleased," he told reporters. "Without playing at the level we have in the past. To get three points the way we scored, with a good delivery, a good determination from Merino - it was really important to show the character of the team. To the end we were trying to control, attack and push.
"Could we play better? Maybe. They have confidence and pace and are good on the counter-attack. It was important for us to keep them at the bottom of the table. We are coming from the Championship, we didn't sign too many players, you tell me after September 1 where we will be, I will tell you fine!
"Credit to our players, they are doing really well. I don't think too much but we're happy with the points we have. All the hard work in training sessions is paying dividends. It is a long race. We will enjoy a couple of days and then we will prepare for the next challenge."
Newcastle, who have lost just one of their last 10 league games on home soil, return to action on October 30 with a trip to face Burnley.