Benitez delivers surprising insight on Newcastle targets this season ahead of Burnley clash
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has revealed his side are not thinking about Premier League survival as they look to work their way up the table.
The Magpies were one of three newly promoted sides at the start of the season, having secured the Championship title, and with it promotion, at the first attempt following their relegation in the 2015/16 season.
Despite having endured a frustrating summer, which saw Benitez air his grievances over the club’s failure to secure his top transfer targets, they have made a bright start to the season, with the Spanish manager guiding his side to eighth after nine games.
However, while many would be expecting the Magpies to have been targeting their top flight survival this season, Benitez has surprisingly stated that him and his side have not thought about it, instead simply looking to finish as high up the table as possible.
He told Sky Sports, via their live blog (30/10, 18:36) on their website for the match against Burnley at Turf Moor: “I you approach the season thinking about having to survive, then you will be down there fighting to survive, so you have to approach it trying to be as high as possible in the table.
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“What we have to think is that the next game is an opportunity to get three points and if we can get to 20 and so on, then we have to do it.
“Our players will have more confidence now because we are doing well.
“We are not saying, ‘Ooh, we have 14 points and we are fine’.”
Newcastle have picked up four wins this season, including in their last match where a late Mikel Merino header secured the three points against Crystal Palace at St James’ Park.
They go into Monday’s clash with Burnley just one point and two places ahead of the Clarets, and have just one away win to their name this season following victory against Swansea.
In other Newcastle United news, the club look set to make a record-breaking bid for an international striker.