Rafa Benitez reveals the one thing Newcastle can't afford to lose in the Premier League

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez has challenged Newcastle United to maintain their momentum for as long as they can to provide a platform for Premier League survival.

The club travels to Burnley tomorrow night, having climb up to eighth place in the table thanks to last weekend's hard-fought 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

A return of 14 points from their first nine games has made for an encouraging start to life back in the top flight, and while the degree of difficulty will increase before the turn of the year, Benitez is hoping his players can ride the wave a little further.

He said: "It's really important to start well, because you will play with more confidence and you never know. You could see Leicester when they won the title, they started with confidence and you couldn't stop them.

"It's a very good thing for us, and if we can keep the momentum, we'll try to do it."

Like Newcastle, fellow promoted teams Brighton and Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town have also adapted quickly to life in the Premier League, with Benitez citing unity on and off the pitch as a significant factor.

He said: "The Championship and the Premier League is obvious, but it's true that maybe these three teams have people – players, managers, staff, everybody – behind the team, well-organised and working as a team.

"Maybe that is the key to being successful in a division where you have players with a lot of quality."

Newcastle are one place and as many points better off than their hosts, although they know extending that gap will prove a challenge, despite Burnley having won only one of their four home league games to date.

Benitez said: "It's an interesting thing that one year, you are really good at home and the year after, you are much better away.

"But it means also that they know the division and they know how to cope with the pressure when they play away.

"It could be also the other teams know how they play at home and they are stronger, so hopefully we can be as strong."