Chancel Mbemba's glowing endorsement of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

Chancel Mbemba and Rafa Benitez
Chancel Mbemba and Rafa Benitez

Chancel Mbemba says there's a trickle-down effect at Newcastle United – thanks to Rafa Benitez.

The club climbed out of the Premier League's relegation zone last weekend thanks to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

And if Newcastle beat Aston Villa on Saturday – and Sunderland fail to beat Chelsea – then the club will have its destiny back in its own hands for the final game of the season.

United looked down and out when Benitez took over in March.

But the team is steadily improving under Benitez, who has instilled belief into a squad which had lacked confidence.

Defender Mbemba said: "Every single one of us has confidence in ourselves and in each other.

"It's thanks to the coach, who is the No 1 (and) the leader. He instils that in every single one of us, players and staff.

"It trickles down from the very top and the whole squad have that confidence now."

An Andros Townsend free-kick – and a Karl Darlow penalty save – gave Newcastle their win over Alan Pardew's Palace.

"We were really happy – every single person in the dressing room was delighted," said Mbemba.

"We deserved the win. Not just us – the players – but everyone involved, the staff and the fans as well.

"We worked hard to take the three points. We identified it as a must-win game and we needed it. We knew that it could mean we leave the relegation zone.

"We just need to continue to work hard to make sure we stay out of the relegation zone and stay in the Premier League."