Rafa Benitez remains convinced that Newcastle United can stay up – after the club dropped into the relegation zone.
Benitez’s side are a point adrift of safety after losing 2-1 to Chelsea on Saturday.
If we work and play with the same passion, intensity and work rate, we will definitely have chances to get points against a lot of teams.Rafa Benitez
Results went against Newcastle at the weekend, and Saturday’s home game against 17th-placed Cardiff City has taken on an even greater importance.
Benitez, however, was heartened by his team’s performance at Stamford Bridge.
“Whatever happens, this squad can stay up,” said United’s manager.
“If we work and play with the same passion, intensity and work rate, we will definitely have chances to get points against a lot of teams.
“We know we can beat some of the teams we still have to play, and in the end, that will make the difference.
“We have to beat the teams at the bottom of the table.”
Benitez felt the difference between Newcastle and Chelsea came in the final third of the pitch.
“We are quite close – we have seen that in a lot of the games against the big teams,” said Benitez.
“When we play against the top sides, we have been close in every game, apart from maybe Liverpool in the last game.
“Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United – we have always been in the games.
“The team has played well and we have had chances, but the final decision in the final third is the decisive thing.
“If you want to get that right, you have to spend the money. For these players, clubs like Chelsea pay £40million, £50million, £100million, whatever.
“That makes the difference. When you’re working so hard, but then one player like Willian makes the difference, you cannot do too much.
“You have to create chances, and we did that. But they take the chances, and, for you, it’s much more difficult.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says Barcelona target Willian must stay at Chelsea.
“For us, Willian’s really a very important player,” said Sarri. “He’s a fundamental player – he has to stay with us.”