Former Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine Jenas has said that it will be a “miracle” if the Magpies manage to avoid relegation this season with the quality of player Rafael Benitez has at his disposal.
Prior to kick off in Saturday’s home clash against Swansea City, the Magpies were sitting 13th in the top flight table, five places but only two points off Stoke City in 18th place, the first of the three relegation spots.
Having secured promotion as league winners from the Championship last season, manager Benitez saw five new faces through the door at St James’ Park, but despite their arrivals he fielded a team which had all played in last season’s campaign in the second tier on Saturday.
Jenas has slammed the quality of the first team squad at St James’ Park, and says if it were not for the Spanish boss being at the helm, then the club would be certainties for the drop this season.
He told BBC Radio 5 live sport (12/01, 19:00): “This Newcastle side, it’s not a top team, it’s really not.
“If they remain in the Premier League this year, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a miracle.
“When I look at them individually, if Benitez wasn’t there, I think they would 100 per cent go down.
“They need the wins, they need to start churning out a few results.”
"If #NUFC remain in the Premier League, as far as I'm concerned, it's a miracle."@jjenas8 says Rafa Benitez is crucial to #NUFC's survival hopes, as they prepare to face #Swans. pic.twitter.com/fJMPgKyQLE
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) January 13, 2018
Newcastle have enjoyed a perfect start to 2018, with wins over Stoke City on New Year’s Day followed by last weekend’s 3-1 win at home to League Two table toppers Luton Town in the FA Cup.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are set for imminent talks over the bargain capture of a youth hot shot.