Rafa Benitez reveals his key target at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez at the 125 Years United dinner (Pic: NUFC/Serena Taylor)
Rafa Benitez at the 125 Years United dinner (Pic: NUFC/Serena Taylor)

Rafa Benitez has urged Newcastle United fans to stay calm after back-to-back defeats – and reiterated that the club’s “target” is Premier League survival.

Benitez’s side were beaten 1-0 by Bournemouth at the weekend.

The result, which followed a loss by the same scoreline to Burnley, saw the club drop down to 11th place.

Newcastle had been as high as sixth last month, and there were hopes that the club could maintain a challenge for European football.

However, Benitez – who missed out on a number of summer transfer targets – believes supporters can’t lose sight of the fact that United are a newly-promoted team.

“My message very simple, especially after losing,” said manager Benitez. “My message has to be clearer and stronger: just stick together. It’s very simple and very clear.

Now we must realise the target is to stay in the Premier League. These young players ... some of them will grow and improve because they have new experiences in them, and after that we will be stronger.

Rafa Benitez

“We were relegated two years ago, then we were promoted, which was a massive achievement to do it first time.

“Now we must realise the target is to stay in the Premier League, be sure that we are strong enough to do that.

“These young players ... some of them will grow and improve because they have new experiences in them, and after that we will be stronger.

“The only way is to stick together. 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.

“It’s true that we could win these games or draw, but we lost. Against Crystal Palace, we win with a late goal when we could have drawn.

“We have had games that we deserved to win – like the other day against Bournemouth – but we lost it.

“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?’.”