Rafael Benitez demands total focus from Newcastle

Rafael Benitez has warned Newcastle there is no room for complacency as they attempt to make the most of their Premier League second chance.

The Magpies hauled themselves out of the relegation zone as a result of last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, but, with both Sunderland and Norwich below them having a game in hand, they head for already-relegated Aston Villa today (kick-off 3pm) knowing there is no margin for error.

Benitez said: “It’s important to get this message: No complacency, concentrate. We have seen the last games of Aston Villa and they did well against Watford, they did really well.

“We play against Spurs in the last game, but the next one is the most important one because win this and we approach it with the fans behind us and it will be easier to keep everyone on their toes and motivated.

“For this game, we need to be sure that we are focused, and we can’t lose our concentration.”

Given what is at stake, Newcastle could be forgiven for being nervous as they attempt to win on the road for the first time since December.

Benitez said: “I like a little bit of tension, because then you can perform better, but not too much. You can’t go there and play with anxiety. You have to play your game.”


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