Rafael Benitez has told his players they can effectively end their Premier League relegation fears by claiming all three points at Bournemouth. The Spaniard believes 38 points will be enough to stay up this season despite Cardiff and Southampton scrapping for their lives at the bottom end of the table, and a win at the Vitality Stadium would take the Magpies to within a single point of that target.
However, Benitez knows defeat, coupled with more good results for the chasing pack, could drag his team back into the mix. Asked if Newcastle were exceeding his expectations after a run of five successive home wins, Benitez said: “No. “At the moment, they are doing well, fine, but I will tell you maybe after this game, not because it’s the first one and the most important one, but because it’s a game that can change a lot of things.
“If we can get three points in this game, I think we can keep pushing with more confidence and without maybe any fear that if you have a couple of bad results, everything will be more difficult. “If we do that, I think we can do much better; if we don’t do that, we have to keep fighting like we have done already.”