Why Rafa Benitez doesn't have a magic number at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez is refusing to put a figure on the points total needed for Premier League survival.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes 38 points will be enough to keep his club in the top flight.

But Benitez – whose side are a point behind 18th-placed Sunderland – is refusing to set a target for his second-bottom team ahead of tomorrow's game against relegation rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Newcastle have 25 points, three less than 17th-placed Norwich.

"I'm not doing any numbers now," said Benitez, appointed United manager last month after the dismissal of Steve McClaren.

"The next game is the most important – we have to try to get three points.

"We've got eight games to play, and must concentrate on them one at a time."

Benitez feels his players have drawn confidence from their last game, the Tyne-Wear derby.

Newcastle came from behind to draw 1-1 against Sunderland at St James's Park before the international break.

"The reaction of the team was positive," he said.

"You want to win but to come back – it was really good. The fans appreciated the comeback, and now we have to show the right mentality and go to Norwich for the win."