Rafael Benitez has been fined £60,000 for his comments about centre referee, Andre Marriner, prior to Newcastle’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace in September.
Benitez replied Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, who claimed he was not being protected by referees.
The Spaniard, Benitez said he had “a lot of confidence” in Marriner but The Football Association constituted the comments as improper conduct and/or bringing the game into disrepute.
FA rules state managers are not allowed to talk about specific referees prior to a game.
“I am surprised because normally the FA deal with these comments. I have a lot of confidence with Andre Marriner,” Benitez said of Zaha and the referee, which attracted the fine.
“He has a lot of experience, even if his record with our players is not that great in terms of red cards. He is an experienced referee.
“Zaha is a good player, no doubt about that, but I think the FA have to deal with his comments. I think Andre Marriner will not have this in the back of his head.
“The way that he [Zaha] plays, normally, he will receive more tackles than other players because he likes to run at players. It won’t make any difference for our players.”
Newcastle United will travel to Old Trafford to face stuttering Manchester United in their next game on Saturday.
The Magpies are 18th in the English Premier League table and they are without a win in the this season with just two draws and five defeats.