Lawrenson makes bold Newcastle statement when quizzed on survival chances

Newcastle United are in the relegation mix alongside Norwich City, Aston Villa and Sunderland.

Mark Lawrenson has questioned whether Newcastle United can stay up by suggesting a number of their current players are not good enough for the Premier League, he told BBC Radio Five Live.

Rafa Benitez took charge of the Magpies on Friday and a number of Premier League observers feel his appointment has tipped the balance in Newcastle’s favour in terms of survival.

Lawrenson, however, says the Spaniard is not a man-manager and believes he has inherited a squad loaded with players who are not up for the challenge and not good enough for the Premier League.

“I don't think Newcastle have got the players to survive. Benitez will look at a DVD of Newcastle playing and will be very frightened,” the former defender explained.

“He is not a man-manager and there are lots of players that are not good enough for the Premier League and are not bothered about what happens to Newcastle.

"There will be players who have release clauses and if Newcastle go into the Championship then they won't be there. If Benitez keeps them up it is a loaves and fishes job."

Newcastle are currently one point behind both Norwich City and Sunderland, having played a game less than their relegation rivals and with encounters against the duo on the horizon.

When considering the fixtures of the three teams in trouble, it appears the Magpies have the more favourable run-in but their current form and drain in confidence will be difficult to overturn.

Benitez is not renowned for his motivational skills, yet he is an excellent tactician and he will look to make the Magpies hard to beat over the next ten games - especially in the key six-pointers.

The Tyneside club may have plenty of deadwood in their ranks, yet there is enough quality for Benitez to work with and the inconsistent form of their rivals is at least encouraging.


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