This ‘meant nothing’ to Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle United moved off the bottom of the Premier League at the St Mary’s Stadium – but that “meant nothing” to Rafa Benitez.

The winless club climbed above Huddersfield Town on goal difference after Saturday’s goalless draw against Southampton.

“I will tell you that for me it means nothing,” said Benitez. “It’s better that you see you’re not at the bottom, but it doesn’t change anything for me.

“I want to be outside the bottom three and in the middle of the table, so we will try to improve our performances, get points, and be where we have to be – which is a little bit higher up the table.”

Benitez admitted that his team’s confidence has taken a battering over the past few weeks.

“I think confidence is crucial in football – and in life,” said United’s manager. “When you have the ability, but also you have the confidence, you can do whatever you want.

I think confidence is crucial in football – and in life. When you have the ability, but also you have the confidence, you can do whatever you want.

Rafa Benitez

“In this case we’re in a bad position, so obviously the lack of confidence for us and for them is very clear.

“Still, we’re fighting, we’re working very hard and we kept a clean sheet and got a point from this game. So I think it’s important to take the positives.”

Newcastle take on Watford at St James’s Park on Saturday.

Asked about the importance of taking points from home games, Benitez said: “When we talk about the form, we talk about the results, but not about the performances.

“We’ve had chances to win games. Yes, we had a couple of games, like Arsenal and Leicester, where we struggled. But even in those, we had chances. In the rest of the games – all of them – we were close, we were in the game, and we could have got something from them.

“It’s difficult to explain that when you don’t watch every game, but people we have seen every game knows we could have had a few more points and then we would be out of the relegation zone.

“It will be massive for the confidence of the players if you are out of the bottom three. But, because we did what we did last year, when we finished 10th, we have to be positive and think we can do it again.”