Rafa Benitez reveals his message to Newcastle's players
Rafa Benitez says a defeat at the St Mary's Stadium would NOT spell the end for Newcastle United.
Benitez's side are 19th in the Premier League and six points adrift of safety ahead of this afternoon's game against Southampton.
Asked if it was a "must-win" game, Benitez said: “No.
"I have said before, there are 21 points still to play for, so we have to concentrate on the next game.
"Don't see the other games – we can't have any influence on the others – so just concentrate on getting three points in this one.
“If we can (win), it will be easier for me, the speech will be easier. If we cannot, still we have to keep on fighting until the end.
“That is very clear for me and for every player, and that is the message for the fans. We will continue fighting, we will not give up until the last minute."
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes 38 points will keep his team up, but Benitez is refusing to put a figure on the points total needed for top-flight survival.
“It depends on what we will do and what the others will do because we cannot guarantee that someone will get three points in this game or the other one," he said.
"We can be speculating, we can be doing the maths, but still, you don't know."