Rafa Benitez responds to talk of a top-10 finish for Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez has moved to dampen expectations on Tyneside after a fourth successive home win.
Rafa Benitez.Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez's side take on West Ham United at the London this afternoon on the back of 2-0 home successes over Burnley and Huddersfield Town.

Newcastle are 13th in the table and six points above the Premier League's relegation zone.

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Winger Matt Ritchie is keen to look up, and not down, the table – and he's not alone.

Many United fans, having seen the arrival of Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United last month lift the club, also believe a higher finish is possible.

Benitez, however, remains cautious in his outlook.

“Obviously, we can see the fixtures that we have, and the other teams around," said Newcastle's manager. "But it means nothing, because three or four weeks ago we were thinking it would be very, very difficult.

"Now, we're starting to talk about 'maybe you can finish 10th'.

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“It is, for me, very clear. We have to stay calm. We have to go there, try to get three points, and, if we can, fine. If we cannot, carry on.

“I have said in a lot of interviews that the Fulham game, the last one of the season, will be the most important.

"Hopefully not, but we have to make sure that we continue doing things in the same way that we're doing already.

“My message today to the players and to everyone is just still we have a lot of things to do, a lot of work to do, so we have to stay calm, we have to approach every game with the same idea that we had from day one: one game at a time.

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"The next one is the most important, the next one is a final for us.

“After if we do that, if we get 38 points, 40 points, whatever, then we can keep pushing an enjoy it a little bit more if it's possible."