Newcastle United were held to a drab 0-0 draw by Fulham over the weekend as the west London club earned their first clean sheet of the season and, despite their position in the table, relegation is still in the mind of manager Rafael Benitez.
The Magpies sit 15th on 17 points — five above Burnley in the relegation zone — and have been in decent form of late, but the Spaniard still believes it will take a miracle for his side to achieve Premier League safety this season.
“We have to be realistic and understand that we will be in the bottom half during the whole season,” Benitez told Sky Sports ahead of Newcastle’s tricky Boxing Day fixture versus Liverpool.
“For me, it is almost clear and if we can be better than three teams, it will be another miracle. It was a miracle last year. People were thinking, ‘Oh, you finished 10th…’, but with a couple fewer wins, we could have been in the bottom five, so it was a miracle.”
Given the conditions he is currently working under, it is not hard to see where Benitez is coming from. With that being said, looking at how some of the sides around Newcastle have performed this campaign, it is not going to take a miracle for the Tyneside club to stay up.
Compared to Fulham, Huddersfield Town and Burnley, who all currently occupy the relegation spots, Newcastle have been playing at another level. Rather, if anything, it is going to take a miracle for all three of those teams to finish above Benitez’s men
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