`

Rafa Benitez delivers message to Newcastle fans after Arsenal defeat

Rafa Benitez and Unai Emery.
Rafa Benitez and Unai Emery.

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle must stay united behind his players – if the club is to climb the Premier League table.

The club is yet to win in any competition this season.

It’s very clear, Newcastle – United. When we are united, we’re stronger. It’s just the only way for us.

Rafa Benitez

Benitez’s side were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal at St James’s Park on Saturday.

Newcastle, given a tough start to the new campaign, have now lost to four of last season’s top six by a single goal.

The result – the fourth league defeat of the season – has left the club in the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Asked if he needed to lift spirits, Benitez said: “I think the fans realise why we are where we are and then our position.

“So I don’t think the players have to be worried about pressure, because the fans have been really good.

“They are clever enough to know the best way possible to go forward is to continue supporting the team, and if the players work hard like in the first half (against Arsenal), that’s something the fans will appreciate.

“It’s very clear, Newcastle – United. When we are united, we’re stronger. It’s just the only way for us.”

Benitez had to sell to buy in the summer while rival managers spent heavily in the transfer market.

However, United’s manager believes his teams can compete and climb the table.

“Obviously, we have to start winning soon, because that will give us more confidence,” said Benitez, who guided the club to a 10th-placed finish last season.

“But I don’t see a massive difference between teams. Obviously, the top six you can say, yes, fine.

“But for the others, it was just one goal.”

Asked if he was more or less confident about Newcastle’s prospects this season, Benitez said: “Similar, because we were expecting a difficult game.

“But the first half was very positive, and the second is something that can happen against top sides with so much quality.

“So very similar. It’s a time to stay calm, and to see what you’re doing right and what you have to do to improve.”