Rafa Benitez celebrates Newcastle win over Stoke

Rafa Benitez ‘expected’ Newcastle to be in the bottom three

Relegation battle for Newcastle

Rafa Benitez has claimed he knew Newcastle United would be in the bottom three early on in the season.

The Magpies have struggled, and are currently in a relegation battle.

However, despite issues with spending and Mike Ashley, Benitez has claimed there isn’t a real issue, and that the club will be fine.

He pointed to the tough fixture list, and said it was expected at this point in the season.

Benitez also added that things may get worse before they get better, and there is no crisis to worry about.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United and Lee Charnley, managing director of Newcastle United both look on from the stands during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Barnsley at St James’ Park on May 7, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A rallying cry

Benitez has also come under fire for his tactics this season. 

Newcastle have been called too negative by some – yet Benitez has refuted that.

The Magpies boss made it clear the players have to be mentally strong, and that will help their cause.

The Mirror report he said: “Being in the bottom three is something you might expect when you look at our fixtures. The reality is that they knew already the fixtures were very difficult and it could be something like that.

“The players know that doing things in the way they did last year, we can change things and be stronger and start getting points.

“At the moment, we have to understand this is the situation. Mentally we can be ready to manage a situation like this one. Last year we were close to the bottom but I think (only) once we were there (in the bottom three).

“Now, it’s like that and could be like that. Some of the other teams are drawing and winning. Still we have difficult games to play. We have to manage this situation and be strong mentally and carry on doing the things we did well last year. That will be the key to winning games this year.”

See also: Henderson calls for strength against Croatia 

Manuel Lanzini speaks out about his injury ahead of West Ham return

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