Benitez dispels Newcastle fans' fears after 'massive achievement'
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has insisted that as a newly promoted side the club’s target this season must be securing their place in the top flight.
The Magpies made a forgettable start to the season, with league defeats to both Tottenham and Huddersfield, before three successive victories helped rocket the club up to the heady heights of sixth.
Since then Benitez has seen his side suffer disappointing losses to Brighton, Burnley and Bournemouth, draw with Liverpool and Southampton and secure a late winner over Crystal Palace, leaving the club in 11th place.
However the club’s last two matches have both ended in 1-0 defeats, which has left fans concerned about the progress being made, but the Spanish boss has spoken out to allay their fears and remind them they are a newly promoted club sitting comfortably in the top flight.
He told the Shields Gazette: “I can see some of the fans after losing the other day were asking me ‘you have lost two games in a row’. Yes, but we’re a new club in the Premier League.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“My message is very simple, especially after losing. My message has to be clearer and stronger: just stick together. It’s very simple and very clear.
“We were relegated two years ago, then we were promoted, which was a massive achievement to do it first time.
“If it’s one or two bad results or even three or four, it doesn’t matter, it’s a long season.
“We know the target is to stay in the Premier League, and then, if you’re doing well, start thinking ‘can you go higher? Can you go higher than last time?’.
Newcastle secured their place in a top flight last season after pipping fellow promoted side Brighton to the Championship title on the last day of the season.
Their next match sees them travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, who are sitting second in the Premier League table.
The last meeting between the two sides, which came at St James’ Park in January 2016, ended 3-3, with Paul Dummett netting a last minute equaliser.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, a trio of Spanish sides are lining up a move for this star for the Magpies.