Benítez: "We have to keep the belief"

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benítez hopes more luck will come his side's way as they prepare to face Watford at St. James’ Park on Saturday


United are still without a victory this season, though Benítez says he's seen flashes of promise from his team in their opening ten fixtures of the Premier League campaign.

Javi Gracia's Hornets represent the next challenge for United, and the Magpies manager hopes fortune will favour his charges as they look to draw inspiration from last season's climb up the table. "Obviously it's not easy when you are not winning and you are so close, because if you are too far away, sometimes you say, 'OK, we cannot'. But we can – we showed that last year, and we've showed that in a lot of games this year," said Benítez.

"I think that we can do it and we have to keep the belief, because we are not conceding too many goals and we created chances in a lot of games. It's just a bit of luck in one game, in that you score the first goal and then you can manage the game, and everything will be different. It was different last year. Again, I will say that we were in the bottom five in January, and still we finished tenth. But also I will say that three teams who were at the bottom of the table at this stage of the season didn't finish in the bottom three. We have to be positive about that."

The Spaniard is still without the services of defender Florian Lejeune and while fellow centre half Ciaran Clark recovered from illness this week, Benítez confirmed this weekend's clash had come too soon for the Republic of Ireland international. But after picking up a point at Southampton last Saturday, Benítez wants the Magpies faithful to provide the backing which could help Newcastle secure that elusive three points. "We are really lucky to have the fans because, at home and away, they are really good with the team. In a difficult situation like this one, they are even better," he said.

"I can understand that sometimes they don't agree with my decisions or the mistake of one player or whatever, but in the end our team is our team, these are our players and this is the manager we have at the moment. We have everything we have until January – we have the same people, and we have to stick together, work hard and try to do our best. The fans behind the team makes a big difference – a massive difference. They have to understand that."

It has been a sombre week for football, with the news breaking last weekend that Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among the five people to lose their lives in the helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium. Benítez offered his condolences to all those affected by the tragedy, and admitted that it gave perspective to some of the sporting pressures his side are facing.

"Obviously I think it's a difficult situation, a difficult time, and our condolences go with all the families of the victims," he said. "It's very difficult to talk about football, to talk about points or missing a chance or not, when you know that there is something more important there.

"I think that we have to analyse everything in perspective, and then be sure that we enjoy the time that we have when we do things well."