Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has said that Rafael Benitez has too big a task on his hands to save Newcastle United from relegation this season as the club have too many problems which need sorting, as quoted by the Daily Express.
Mannone's side looked set to extend their winning run over their arch-rivals to seven matches on Sunday after Jermain Defoe's opener, but Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home an equaliser for the hosts seven minutes from time in Benitez's first match in charge at St. James' Park.
That result leaves both clubs still mired deep in relegation danger, a situation exacerbated by Norwich City's victory over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
Mannone admitted that his side must focus on themselves and their own run-in in the remaining weeks of the season, but said that after coming so close to beating Newcastle he cannot see how Benitez can possibly do enough to save them.
The Italian goalkeeper said, as quoted by the Express: "They still had the problems in the first hour of the game, we saw that, so I don't see how the new manager can sort everything out in the next eight games. It will be hard.
"It is difficult when a manager comes in for the last two months. It is not easy. I have seen it myself in the last couple of years.
"Benitez is a top manager. He has been at some good clubs. It will help Newcastle to have him. But we have to look at ourselves."
Benitez has enjoyed some great successes over the course of his managerial career, winning two La Liga titles with Valencia before leading Liverpool to their greatest modern success in the 2005 Champions League.
However, he has never faced as perilous a situation as the one he agreed to inherit less than a fortnight ago, and he faces a huge battle to save the Magpies.
Newcastle are second-bottom of the Premier League table, one point behind Sunderland and three points from safety with just eight matches remaining, although they, along with the Black Cats, do have a game in hand over Norwich.