Rafa Benitez reveals his ‘message’ to his Newcastle players

Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.
Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.
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Rafa Benitez is adamant that he can lead Newcastle United back up the table to Premier League safety.

Benitez’s 16th-placed side are just one point above the relegation zone after losing seven of their last eight games.

And it could get worse before it gets better for Newcastle, who take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

United manager Benitez – who guided the club to the Championship title last season – is more used to competing at the other end of the table.

Asked about Newcastle’s run of results, Benitez said: “The reality is, when we decided to stay, everyone appreciated that.

“When we were in the Championship, everyone appreciated that. We won the title, everyone appreciated that.

“Then the fans know where we are and what we have. In terms of that, I have to do my job in the best way possible and that is it.

“You have to be the first one to have the confidence and belief we can do it, and I do believe that this team will improve.

“When you’ve bad results, you have to lead the team and the confidence. I know what we have to do.”

Benitez added: “My message is very clear – it’s a long race. If you go in a marathon, you know when they talk about the wall, which is 33km or something like that? You get to the wall and then you have to carry on.”

Meanwhile, Benitez has spoken about goalkeeper Karl Darlow, whose error gifted Everton their winner at St James’s Park on Wednesday night.

Darlow dropped a header and Wayne Rooney prodded the loose ball home.

The 27-year-old was recalled to Benitez’s starting XI early this month at the expense of Rob Elliot.

“When they (goalkeepers) made a mistake, everyone can see them now, especially with TV,” said Benitez. “We all make mistakes, and after we’re not fine, but journalists, managers – you have to carry on with your life.”