Rafa Benitez has urged his Newcastle United team to keep fighting against relegation until the end of the season, emphasizing the point that the Premier League is a marathon and not a sprint.
The Magpies are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with just two points from their opening nine league games.
However, the former Liverpool manager feels his team can do enough to climb out of the relegation zone between now and May.
“It is a long distance race,” he said at his Friday press conference.
“We have to carry on. I am really optimistic. I know it is a difficult situation. I am optimistic because we have been in this situation and did well last year.
“We finished 10th when we were in the bottom five. It is good for us to know how to manage these things but bad that this club has been in this situation for a while.”
Benitez has not been backed in the transfer market by club owner Mike Ashley, and knows that he is unlikely to receive any significant transfer funds in the January window either. Therefore the Spanish manager must achieve the great escape with the players he currently has at his disposal.
Newcastle travel to face Mark Hughes’ struggling Southampton side this Saturday. Benitez’s charges will need to start winning soon with nine league games of the season already behind them.
If Newcastle do end up being relegated in May it will be interesting to see what happens next for both Benitez and Mike Ashley.