Former Newcastle flop Marcelino believes Rafael Benitez wouldn't have come to St James' Park if he wasn't confident of keeping them up

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The former Real Madrid boss has got nine games to keep the Magpies in the Premier League.

Former Newcastle United flop Marcelino has suggested that Rafael Benitez would not have risked harming his reputation by coming to St James' Park if he did not believe that he will keep the Magpies in the Premier League, the Shields Gazette reports.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss arrived on Tyneside with just ten games to try and keep them in the top flight. And while his first fixture ended in defeat, as they lost 1-0 to league leaders Leicester City, Marcelino - who endured an awful time at the club, making just 20 appearances during an injury-ravaged four-year spell - believes that Benitez must have the confidence that he is going to keep the side up this term.

"Managers don't want to damage their reputation with relegation," he told the Shields Gazette. "He's coming from managing Real Madrid.

"If he comes to Newcastle, it's because he believes he can save the season and do a very good job here in the Premier League. That tells me a lot about him.

"I believe that with him Newcastle will be safe at the end of the season."

While his first game ended in disappointment - although there were plenty of reasons for cautious optimism also - it will be the club's next two games that provide a huge indication regarding whether the move to appoint Benitez was the correct one. 

They face Sunderland on Sunday in one of the most important Tyne-Wear derbies in recent memory, and then face Norwich in their first game back following the international break. 

And with the three teams separated by just one point - while bottom side Aston Villa and the team directly above the trio, Swansea City are both considerably adrift of that group - Newcastle's next two games could have a major say on whether it will be they who take that one spot that the three sides are battling over. 

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