Newcastle players are not scared, insists Benitez


Rafael Benitez insisted his Newcastle United players are not frightened as they face an increasingly difficult battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Newcastle host Swansea City on Saturday as they sit six points adrift of safety with only six matches remaining to save their top-flight status.

Benitez rejected the notion that his team being scared was impacting their performances after collecting just one point from his first four matches in charge.

The former Real Madrid boss has retained confidence that Newcastle can still beat the drop.

"I don't see any fear in the players," Benitez said at his pre-match media conference. "I just know they are upset and disappointed, but they will fight until end and give everything.

"We have to have confidence. It's massive for us, crucial for us. We have to start winning games. I think we can win games and get the points we need to stay up.

"In training sessions, the team is doing well. Now is the time to show it and play as a team on the pitch.

"Swansea have confidence and they are organised. They are not at risk of relegation so they will play football."

Relegation rivals Norwich City and Sunderland meet prior to Newcastle's match, but Benitez wants his players to focus on their own victory on what will be his 56th birthday.

He added: "The other scores don't matter. We have to win our game. 

"You feel the pressure fighting for titles or trying to avoid relegation, you feel the pressure for sure. What you have to do is what we're trying to do.

"We're trying to be clean with our instructions, to train well. And after in football sometimes you need a little bit of luck as well. If we score the first goal, maybe we will see the quality of these players during the whole game.

"The only thing that I'm asking the players is that they have to give everything and finish the game without regret that they left everything there. The fans will be behind them if they do that.

"Hopefully they will give me three points, that will be fine and hopefully I can enjoy it [my birthday] at the end of the game."

Newcastle have defensive trio Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat and Steven Taylor ruled out through injury, but Paul Dummett is back.