Rafa looking for one more win

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez believes one more victory could be enough to ensure that his side preserve their Premier League status at the end of the season.

The Magpies have lost only one of their last six league games to move seven points clear of the relegation places, with their latest outing seeing grab a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth thanks to a superb volley from Matt Ritchie against his former club.

However, Benitez thinks that is still a little more work to do before he and his players can celebrate top-flight survival.

He told reporters: "We have to keep going, the job is not done. We have to keep winning games.

"I think it could be 38 points, it depends. Obviously, 40 is guaranteed for me. I think 38 will be enough, so we have to keep winning if we can."

Of the battling qualities of his team, he added: "The players showed character. They were working really hard until the last minute.

"In the end the team showed what we were expecting in this kind of game. We tried and we got the point, but maybe it could have been even more."

Following the international break, Newcastle return to action on Monday 1st April when they face testing trip to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal.

Earlier this season goals from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil secured a 2-1 win for the Gunners at St James' Park, with the lone reply from the hosts coming from Ciaran Clark.

Newcastle are 7/2 to earn a point at the Emirates, with the Tynesiders 1/1000 not to be relegated this season and 150/1 to suffer relegation to the Championship.

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Benitez fires Magpies warning

Rafa Benitez has warned his Newcastle United players not to get too carried away by their recent run of three wins in their last four Premier League games.

The Magpies have lifted themselves six points clear of the bottom three thanks to victories over Huddersfield Town, Burnley and Everton, but head coach Benitez is aware that there is still plenty of hard work ahead to ensure top-flight survival.

He told reporters ahead of a Saturday visit to Dean Court to take on Bournemouth: "You can see that the confidence is high, but again I have told them, we have to be careful.

"Still the job is not done, so we have to keep working hard, we need to approach every game like a final, and if we do that and we don't make the mistakes that we did against West Ham, we can compete against anyone.

"Belief is high, but it can be dangerous. We must make sure we approach every game with the right concentration."

United will be without Jamaal Lascelles for the trip to the South Coast, with the central defender ruled out of the weekend action by a knee problem, however, Ciaran Clark is back in contention as a possible replacement.

Earlier this season Salomon Rondon scored twice as the hosts defeated the Cherries 2-1 at St James' Park and Newcastle can be backed at 11/4 to win again on Saturday.

They are 10/1 to secure a 1-0 victory, with in-form striker Ayoze Perez 11/4 to score at any time.

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Longstaff ruled out for season

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been dealt a major blow as Sean Longstaff will not be able to play again this season because of a knee injury.

The 21-year-old had been in great form recently but picked up the injury during the weekend defeat to West Ham United.

A statement from the club read: "Newcastle United can confirm midfielder Sean Longstaff is likely to miss the remainder of the 2018/19 season with a knee ligament injury.

"The 21-year-old – who has been shortlisted for the Premier League's Player of the Month for February – was replaced at half time during Saturday's Premier League game at West Ham United."

Longstaff has made 13 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies this term, scoring twice.

Meanwhile, Matt Ritchie is enjoying his new role at left wing-back and is keen to continue playing in the position for the rest of the season.

The former Bournemouth star has filled in for the injured Paul Dummett and is enjoying the experience.

He said: "I've got to be honest, I'm loving it. I feel like I get in better areas higher up the pitch with the ball. I'd say that one of my biggest strengths is my delivery and I get in positions now to cross the ball.

"I feel like, defensively, I had to learn on the job a little bit. I made a few mistakes, small errors, which you get punished for in this league.

"But I've certainly really enjoyed playing left wing-back. The way we play, the lads in the middle are spraying the ball out wide. I think we've worked a lot on switching the play, and the wing-backs in this system are so important."

Newcastle can be backed at 2/1 to keep a clean sheet against Everton on Saturday while they are 7/1 to beat Marco Silva's side 1-0.

Benitez urges more from Magpies

Rafael Benitez suggests there is 'no chance' anyone at Newcastle will be feeling they are safe in the Premier League after a 2-0 win over Burnley.

It was a second home success in four days for the Magpies after they beat ten-man Huddersfield on Saturday and the win hoisted Newcastle up to 13th in the table, seven points clear of Southampton in the third relegation spot.

Fabian Schar opened the scoring in stunning fashion midway through the first half, crashing a 30-yard shot in off the upright.

The impressive Sean Longstaff doubled the Magpies lead before the break, and they were fairly comfortable in seeing out their fourth win six games.

Burnley's unbeaten eight-game Premier League run came to an end and Newcastle leapfrogged their visitors in the table but Benitez says this isn't the time to be getting falsely secure.

"Winning games you have more confidence but we have to take one game at a time. We are where we are now because we focused on that and we have to keep doing the same," said the Spaniard.

"We cannot think the job is done, no chance. We have confidence and we have to keep going. We can lose games but we have to approach every game with the same mentality and the players know it is like that."

With his side now 33/1 to be relegated, Benitez is confident that Newcastle can finish the season in strong fashion and secure their top flight status for another term.

"I know my staff and since a long time ago we have finished stronger at the end of the season. Sometimes you can lose games but we finish stronger," he added.

"Last year we were safe with five games to play. It's something I was expecting and hopefully we can carry on winning games."

Newcastle are 3/1 to win away at West Ham on Saturday evening. The Hammers are 1/1 for the London Stadium clash, with the draw available at 11/5.

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Dyche calm over Clarets form

Sean Dyche has challenged his in-form Burnley outfit to maintain the high standards they have set in going unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches.

The Clarets have lifted themselves six points clear of the relegation places due to their upturn in fortunes, but head coach Dyche has warned that now is not the time to think that the job is done.

He told reporters: "Our target is to keep performing. This league is very demanding and the next game is always the most important, so collectively, we keep pushing to get the results we all want.

"The players deserve a lot of credit for this run, but they know that the next game is the most important, we've spoken about that so many times.

"We didn't lose sight of it when we weren't doing so well either, it's an unforgiving league and we know that. We know that we've got to continue the good work that's getting done with good performances."

Burnley head to Tyneside on Tuesday evening to take on Newcastle United, with the Magpies having gained ten points from a possible 15 from their last five league outings.

And their head coach Rafa Benitez, whose side now have 28 points – two less than Burnley – thinks a couple more wins could see his side all but safe from the threat of relegation.

He added: "I think this year (safety) will be less than 40 points. This year I think 38 could be fine, even less maybe, but it depends."

Newcastle won 2-1 at Turf Moor earlier this season and are 9/1 to triumph by the same scoreline on Tuesday, with the hosts 5/4 to keep a clean sheet, while Salomon Rondon is 15/8 to score at any time in the game.

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Benitez won’t rest on laurels

Rafa Benitez is refusing to get carried away by Newcastle United's 2-0 win against Huddersfield and is focused only on beating Burnley on Tuesday.

Second-half goals by Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez helped the Magpies ease to victory against rock-bottom Town, who had Tommy Smith sent off before the interval.

Record signing Miguel Almiron starred for the Magpies, who are 21/20 to beat Burnley at St James' Park and 6/1 to win the match 1-0.

After the win, Benitez said: "Everybody was expecting that we could win, but maybe they were not expecting that we could play as well as this and create so many chances.

"But the main thing was to get three points – we did it and now it's just carry on. Always I say the next game is the most important – it's like a final for us.

"Burnley are doing quite well, so we have to play with the same intensity and try to get three points and carry on."

Meanwhile, the former Liverpool manager said of Almiron: "Everything we have seen is what we were expecting from him. Obviously, the defenders from the other teams will know him a little bit better now and it will be more difficult for him.

"But still, he is someone who is working really hard, so I think he can do well.

"Now he has to learn in the Premier League to understand what the physicality of the game means here, but I think he has the right mentality."

Benitez eyeing further progress

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez feels it will take more than a couple of January signings for him to commit to the Magpies long term.

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding the manager's future at St James' Park, especially with Newcastle struggling just above the relegation zone.

Antonio Barreca and Miguel Almiron both joined Newcastle before the end of the January window but Benitez wants further progress to be made at the club before committing his future beyond the current campaign.

"That [my future] is something we will have plenty of time to talk about," Benitez told Sky Sports.

"Obviously one or two signings at the end of the transfer window doesn't change everything.

"We are a little bit better than before, but we still have to talk about a lot of things if we want to move forward."

Newcastle, who have won just six of their 25 Premier League games this season, have a chance to build a three-point gap on the 18th-place Southampton when they travel to Wolves on Monday night.

The Magpies are 17/4 to win, 13/5 to draw and 4/5 to lose to Nuno Espirito Santo's side at Molineux.

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Selection problems please Rafa

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benítez is relieved that four members of his first-team squad have recovered from their injuries.

Paul Dummett, Ki Sung-yueng, Mohamed Diame and Karl Darlow are all available to face Wolves on Monday.

In addition, Yoshinori Muto has returned from Asian Cup duty with Japan and new signing Miguel Almiron could make his Magpies debut at Molineux.

However, Benitez is refusing to rush Jonjo Shelvey and Rob Elliot back to action too soon.

"It's much better. Apart from Jonjo and Elliot, the rest of the team are fine," Benitez said. "Everyone else is fit and available. It is good news – competition, as I always say, is positive for the team.

"Shelvey has been training outside but we don't want to take any risks. We still have to wait for one or two weeks but the problem is that he wants to push and be on the pitch, training well with the team, and we have to stop him sometimes.

"It is important to have everyone if it is possible but especially when at this time you are playing for everything."

Newcastle are 19/4 to beat Nuno Espirito Santo's side, who are currently seventh in the Premier League table.

Benitez has been impressed with how well Wolves have adapted to life in the top-flight following last season's promotion, adding: "They have a good manager and some very good players – they have players who have been champions of Europe and internationals at every level.

"They may be newly-promoted but they have spent more than £100million. They are a good team who are doing really well."

Newcastle are 7/2 to keep a clean sheet against Wolves.

Almiron aims to repay trust

Miguel Almiron says he wants to repay Newcastle United's trust after signing for a club-record fee.

The attacking midfielder joins from MLS side Atlanta United for a fee believed to be in the region of £20m, exceeding the amount paid to sign Michael Owen from Real Madrid back in 2005.

Almiron started his career in his native Paraguay in 2013, joining Atlanta in 2016, scoring 13 goals last season, helping his team win the MLS Cup for the first time.

He told NUTV of his delight at making the move to the Premier League, saying: "I'm very happy and eager to start and to meet my new team-mates.

"The league is very competitive, this is a historic club, and Rafa Benitez himself were the main reasons why I am here now.

"I think it is a great responsibility, something beautiful for me, and I will try to offer the best I can to repay the trust the club put in me."

United boss Rafael Benitez said that he had been following Almiron for a while, adding: "We saw a player with some pace in attack, who can play behind the striker. We have someone who can score goals and give assists".

Newcastle have also added a defender before the end of the January transfer window, Antonio Barreca joining from Monaco on loan until the end of the season.

The two new signings join a club on a high after Newcastle's midweek victory over Premier League champions Manchester City.

The win took United clear of the relegation zone, five points ahead of third bottom Cardiff. They have the chance to move further clear on Saturday with a trip to Tottenham.

They are 7/1 for an away win with Spurs 2/5 and the draw 7/2. Newcastle are 20/1 to win the game 1-0.

United are 20/1 to end the season in the top half of the Premier League.

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No guarantees from Benitez

Rafa Benitez has cast doubt on his future as Newcastle United manager by refusing to say whether he will still be at the club next season.

The Spaniard's contract at St James' Park expires at the end of this season and he is believed to be unhappy with a lack of transfer activity at the club during the January transfer window.

Newcastle were knocked out of the FA Cup by Watford on Saturday are and 17th in the Premier League table after beating Cardiff City in their last game earlier this month.

They host Manchester City on Tuesday and are available at 20/1 to grind out a 0-0 draw against last season's Premier League champions.

"No, I cannot guarantee anything but I have not considered leaving [before my contract ends]," former Liverpool, Chelsea, Valencia and Real Madrid boss Benitez said.

"I am a professional and I want to do things well. I decided to stay in the Championship, to do my job and finish my job in the way that I like to do things.

"I have some principles and I will try to do things properly."

Newcastle can be backed at 4/1 to be relegated this season while Salomon Rondon is 9/2 to score at any time against Pep Guardiola's team, who will move to within one point of Premier League leaders Liverpool if they triumph on Tyneside.