Rafael Benitez: Newcastle belief growing

Newcastle United v Swansea City

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Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez feels the belief is starting to return to his side as they bid to preserve their Premier League status.

The Magpies ended a seven match winless run by beating Swansea 3-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday and they are now just three points adrift of safety and have a game in hand on 17th-place Norwich.

That game in hand will come on Tuesday when they take on top-four hopefuls Manchester City on home soil, but recent history does not favour Benitez’s side, as they have failed to win any of the last 18 Premier League meetings with the Citizens.

Despite that ominous statistic, Benitez remains hopeful his side can build on their victory against the Swans and he is adamant that the belief is starting to return to his squad.

He said at a news conference: “After the games you watch the table and it’s a little bit better so we have more confidence. Hopefully we can keep the momentum.”

The former Real Madrid boss believes his side’s home form will be crucial if they are to retain their top-flight status, as following the match with City they will face further games at St James’ Park against Crystal Palace and Tottenham.

He said: “We said before playing at home could be massive for us, we have another three games at home so hopefully we can play at the same level with the same intensity and be lucky – as sometimes you have to be.”

Newcastle are available at 5.50 to secure back to back wins in the Premier League for the first time since December, while Manchester City are on offer at 1.60 and the draw is priced at 4.20.

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