Rafa Benitez's birthday message to his Newcastle players

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafael Benitez has told his Newcastle players not to leave the pitch with any regrets as they attempt to belatedly kick-start their Premier League survival drive against Swansea.

Four games into his brief reign, the 55-year-old Spaniard is still awaiting his first victory and the single point he has banked to date has done little to ease the plight into which he stepped as Steve McClaren's replacement.

However, four of the six games the Magpies have in which to rescue themselves – they are currently six points adrift of safety – will take place at St James's Park, and he is hoping the first of them against the Swans tomorrow can give them the boost they need with the pressure mounting.

Benitez said: "You feel the pressure fighting for titles or trying to avoid relegation, you feel the pressure for sure. What you have to do is what we're trying to do.

"We're trying to be clean with our instructions, to train well. And after in football sometimes you need a little bit of luck as well. If we score the first goal, maybe we'll see the quality of these players during the whole game.

"The only thing that I'm asking the players is that they have to give everything and finish the game without regret that they left everything there. I think everybody expects that. The fans will be behind them if they do that."