Rafa Benitez’s blunt warning to his Newcastle players

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez.

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Rafa Benitez has warned his players there will be consequences for everyone – including them – if Newcastle United go down.

The second-bottom club is battling to stay in the Premier League.

Benitez’s side take on 17th-placed Norwich City this afternoon knowing anything but a win would leave them even deeper in trouble.

Some fans feel the players do not care as much about the club’s plight as them – as they would simply leave St James’s Park in the event of relegation.

But United manager Benitez believes there would also be consequences for the players.

“I think it’s difficult, but at the same time it’s very simple,” said Benitez.

They know that we are responsible for the situation. They know that the next year if something is wrong, they have to do their best to change things.

Rafa Benitez

“They know that we are responsible for the situation. They know that the next year if something is wrong, they have to do their best to change things.

“It will not be easy to say ‘oh, I will go’. They lose value. The players lose value.

“I don’t think that anyone wants to go down, because it will be bad for everyone if we go down.”

Supporters have long criticised certain players for a perceived lack of commitment.

But Benitez feels the team he inherited is fully committed to the cause.

The Spaniard said: “No, I have spoken to all of them and they realise it is important.

“They are professionals, they have been here for a while, and they know that the fans are fantastic when everything is fine.

“To feel the passion of the fans supporting you when you are doing well is something maybe you won’t find at other places.

“So you have fans that are supporting the team, and they know that this is the target – to stay in the Premier League and to enjoy this with the fans.”