John Carver explains why Rafael Benitez's appointment means Newcastle have to stay up

The former Magpies head coach says it is crucial that the club avoid relegation so that Benitez can take them on to new heights.

Former Newcastle United head coach John Carver has told Sky Sports' 'Goals on Sunday' that the appointment of Rafael Benitez as manager is the best since Sir Bobby Robson, and claims that it makes it all the more important that the club avoid relegation.

Benitez was named as the successor to Steve McClaren after the former England head coach was sacked earlier in March, and the Spaniard has lost one and drawn one of his first two matches in charge.

The appointment of the former Liverpool manager was considered a calculated gamble by the North East club, with the 55-year-old boasting league title and Champions League trophies but having little experience of desperate relegation battles.

Carver, who just about steered the club to avoid relegation in the second half of last season after Alan Pardew's departure, believes that Benitez's appointment makes it even more vital that the club stay up so that they can reap the rewards of his managerial abilities.

Carver told 'Goals on Sunday': "It's a brilliant appointment, and one of the best we've had in all honesty since Bobby Robson. It's a great coup for Lee Charnley and he's been under massive amounts of pressure, so he had to go and get somebody with the CV that Rafa has.

"I'll be interested to see how he deals with this different type of pressure because as we all know in the North East, it's a huge pressure, but I'm sure he can deal with it. When you've gone to a club like Real Madrid, you can deal with anything.

"If we do stay up, I'm sure Rafa's going to stay and build up something within the club. Last week, he was down at the training ground talking to the young players and staff down there. It's why we need to stay in the Premier League because we need Rafa to take this club onto another level."

After a narrow 1-0 defeat at Premier League leaders Leicester City in Benitez's first match in charge, the Spaniard got his first point as Magpies manager last weekend thanks to Aleksandar Mitrovic's late equaliser against arch-rivals Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby.

That draw left the club second-bottom of the Premier League table, one point behind the Black Cats and three points adrift of safety, albeit with a game in hand over Norwich City.

Benitez will be hoping that all of his players come through the international break unscathed ahead of a pivotal trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich next Saturday.

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