Newcastle United head coach Rafa Benitez has warned his players against losing focus before his side are certain of securing their Premier League status for another season.
The Magpies are seven points clear of the drop zone ahead of their clash with Southampton on Saturday and Benitez does not want uncertainty about the futures of both himself and some of his squad to get in the way of his preparations.
He told reporters: "I just concentrate on preparing the team and preparing for the next game.
"I have to try to keep the players focused – that is the difficult thing because everyone has their own future ahead and they are thinking about different things.
"We have to manage different players in different ways, but the only thing you can do is make sure you train well and explain things the best you can.
"My concern, when I was reading different stories about players, is that we are losing focus. We still need to win another game.
"We need to make sure we are safe and then, after that, if people start to lose focus, okay. But at the moment, we have to be sure we can get another three points."
Benitez only has two major injury absentees for the meeting with the Saints at St James' Park, with Florian Lejeune and Sean Longstaff (both knee) both long-term absentees.
The meeting of the two sides on the South Coast earlier this season ended goalless and another 0-0 draw on Saturday is priced at 13/2, with a 1-0 Newcastle victory available at 13/2, while the hosts are 13/8 to keep a clean sheet.
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