Categories: SPORT

Rafa Benitez believes Newcastle are just one win away from Premier League safety

‘I think 38 points will be enough’: Rafa Benitez believes Newcastle are just one win away from Premier League safety following draw at Bournemouth

Ed Elliott, Press Association Sport

Rafael Benitez believes one more win will be sufficient to secure Premier League survival for Newcastle.

The Magpies edged a step closer to safety after Matt Ritchie claimed a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

Ritchie’s stunning half-volley moved the north east club onto 35 points, seven clear of the relegation zone with seven top-flight fixtures remaining.

Rafael Benitez believes his Newcastle United side are just one win from securing safety

Matt Ritchie scored a late equaliser to earn Newcastle a point at Bournemouth on Saturday

‘We have to keep going, the job is not done. We have to keep winning games,’ said manager Benitez.

‘I think it could be 38 points (to stay up), it depends. Obviously, 40 is guaranteed for me.

‘I think 38 will be enough, so we have to keep winning if we can.’

Newcastle’s comfortable position in 13th place is remarkable given they registered just three points from their opening 10 games of the campaign.

A run of five successive home wins prior to the trip to the south coast helped propel Benitez’s side away from trouble.

Ritchie’s stunning half-volley moved north east club onto 35 points in the top-flight standings


All Premier League

April 1 Arsenal (A)

April 6 Crystal Palace (H)

April 12 Leicester City (A)

April 20 Southampton (H)

April 27 Brighton (A)

May 4 Liverpool (H)

The Spaniard will reward his squad with time off during the international break ahead of the game at Arsenal on April 1.

‘I think they are working so hard, you can see every game – until the last minute, again,’ he said.

‘Sometimes I think that it’s done and they give up and we didn’t do it and it was a great reaction.

‘They have to relax a little bit, enjoy with their families and come back with their batteries charged.’

After Salomon Rondon’s free-kick put Newcastle ahead at the end of the first half, Bournemouth turned the game in their favour thanks to Joshua King’s brace.

King has now scored six times in his last five matches on home soil and has 11 top-flight goals for the season.

Josh King scored a brace for Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon

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He hopes to add another six strikes to that tally before the end of the campaign.

‘I’m not really counting away or home games or where I score goals, I’ve just got a mark of where I’m trying to beat my best record of 16 (in 2016/17) and I’ve got seven games left to do that,’ he told

While King will be away with Norway before the Cherries travel to Leicester on March 30, his team-mates not on international duty will be in Dubai for a mid-season training camp.

He added: ‘I’m going to play against Spain and Sweden so that’s on my mind and obviously representing my country is an honour.

‘But I think the boys will go to Dubai, train hard and come back fit.’


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