Rafa Benitez reveals where he wants to be by the time Santa visits
Rafa Benitez has spoken about what he expects as a minimum in the next 25 days.
Newcastle visit the Hawthorns tomorrow night and then 25 days later they will be at West Ham, six games and 18 points to play for.
The United boss indicates that his target was at least 20 points from the opening half of the season.
The match at West Ham is the 19th of the season and with 14 points from 13 at the minute, NUFC still need six points to reach that 20 points mark by the time Santa calls.
These are the matches that face them:
West Brom v Newcastle – Tuesday 28 November (8pm)
Chelsea v Newcastle – Saturday 2 December (12.30pm)
Newcastle v Leicester – Saturday 9 December (5.30pm)
Newcastle v Everton – Wednesday 13 December (7.45pm)
Arsenal v Newcastle – Saturday 16 December (3pm)
West Ham v Newcastle – Saturday 23 December (3pm)
I would assume that most of us will be looking at four of those matches as the possibles to give points, the trips to Chelsea and Arsenal would be a massive bonus if anything came from them.
Bottom line is that Everton, West Brom and West Ham are 16th, 17th and 18th, whilst Leicester are level on points with Newcastle but two places above on goal difference.
It doesn’t take a genius to appreciate that games against these clubs are pivotal to how the season is going to turn out, whether they fall below or after Christmas.
If you could pick and choose then you certainly would like to see points arriving from the games against the three bottom placed teams, defeat to any of them will be really bad news for Newcastle as they are six pointers at this stage of the season.
A win and three draws would get Rafa and Newcastle fans to that 20 points stage and after four defeats in a row I would settle for that.
Getting something out of tomorrow’s match is very likely essential to reaching that target, both in terms of adding a point or more and restoring a little bit of confidence and a tiny piece of momentum.
“I was telling the players that we have to realise where we are and what we have to do for the future.
“We still have a few points to go to get 20 points in the first half of the season.
“It will be tough but I still think we are in a good position.
“If my target for the first half of the season is 20 points, and we have 14, we have to be sure that we use these next six games to get those points and then try to improve in the second half of the season.
“We did really well at the beginning and now we have to keep working with this group.
“They are working really hard but there is a lack of experience sometimes.”
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