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Saturday 26 May 2018

Rafael Benitez targets four wins for survival

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is looking for four wins for survival following defeat at Southampton
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is looking for four wins for survival following defeat at Southampton

Rafael Benitez has admitted Newcastle need at least four wins from six matches to escape Premier League relegation.

Newcastle capitulated 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday, for their sixth defeat in a seven-match winless run.

Benitez's men are six points adrift of safety with six games to play, but Newcastle's Spanish manager is refusing to throw in the towel.

"I still have the belief that we can win games and if we start winning it can be different," said Benitez.

"We don't need to be the best team in the league but we have to be the best team of the bottom four.

"We aren't doing that at the moment so I feel we have to start winning the games, and change a lot of things - the commitment, the passion, the character, the way that we play.

"And the fans will be crucial for us, because we need them pushing the players, supporting the players.

"And at the end of the season we'll have time to analyse what was going on.

"But now it's the time to stick together and try to do our best because that's the only way."

Benitez slammed his side's lacklustre loss at Southampton, admitting travelling supporters were right to protest with negative chants during the St Mary's drubbing on Saturday.

Defender Steven Taylor was hauled off at half-time after a horrific first half, while Daryl Janmaat was equally abysmal in trudging out with a groin problem.

Newcastle host Swansea on Saturday and still have four home games in their survival fight, with Benitez targeting a clean sweep.

The Tynesiders have Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Tottenham to face at home, with trips to Liverpool and Aston Villa still ahead.

"If other teams lose some games maybe it will be enough with four wins," said Benitez.

"If they continue to win games then maybe we'll need five wins. And if you lose it doesn't matter.

"So I feel we have to approach every game like a must-win game.

"Some of the players know we can do it, but some of them are worried about these mistakes that we're making in games.

"The only way is to try to repeat situations during training, so they will have more confidence and they can replicate these situations during games."

Press Association

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