Newcastle United players DO care says ex-Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez

Boss Rafa Benitez has warned his players there will be consequences for everyone – including them – if Newcastle United go down.

The second-bottom Magpies is battling to stay in the Premier League.

I don’t think that anyone wants to go down, because it will be bad for everyone

RAFA BENITEZ

Benitez’s side take on 17th-placed Norwich this afternoon knowing anything but a win would leave them even deeper in trouble.

Some fans feel the players do not care as much about United’s plight as them – saying they would walk away from St James’s Park in the event of relegation.

But Benitez believes there would also be consequences for the players.

“I think it’s difficult, but at the same time it’s very simple,” said Benitez.

“They know that we are responsible for the situation. They know that the next year if something is wrong, they have to do their best to change things.

“It will not be easy to say ‘oh, I will go’. They lose value. The players lose value.

“I don’t think that anyone wants to go down, because it will be bad for everyone if we go down.”

Supporters have long criticised certain players for a perceived lack of commitment.But Benitez feels the team he inherited is fully committed to the cause.

The Spaniard said: “No, I have spoken to all of them and they realise it is important.

“They are professionals, they have been here for a while, and they know that the fans are fantastic when everything is fine.

“To feel the passion of the fans supporting you when you are doing well is something maybe you won’t find at other places.

“So you have fans that are supporting the team and they know that this is the target – to stay in the Premier League and to enjoy this with the fans.”

Meanwhile, Benitez doesn’t have a magic number for Newcastle.

Unlike Sam Allardyce – who believes 38 points will keep Sunderland in the league – Benitez is refusing to set a points target.

“I’m not doing any numbers now,” said Benitez. “The next game is the most important. We have to try to get three points. We must concentrate on them one at a time.”