Rafael Benitez outlines what has surprised him about Newcastle United's players

Rafael Benitez has failed to win either of his first two matches in charge of Newcastle United.

Manager Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that Newcastle United’s players have surprised him with their willingness to help him.

Benitez took charge at Newcastle two weeks ago, following the dismissal of Steve McClaren.

And the Spanish boss says that he has been shocked by how welcome that the Magpies players have made him feel at St. James’ Park.

“I’m sure of everyone wanting to be a part of the club in the future and part of the project, so for them it’s important for them to do well,” Benitez said.

“I will not say ‘everyone’, but I was surprised with some of them.

“Even this morning, one was coming here (to the training ground), and they said to me: ‘I want to work hard, what do you need from me Rafa?’

“I had the same conversation in the last week with four or five players. That for me has been a surprise and very positive too.”

Benitez has taken charge of two Newcastle matches to date, and he is still waiting to celebrate his first victory.

Benitez’s first match at the helm resulted in a 1-0 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, while his second match in charge ended as a 1-1 draw against Sunderland.

Newcastle’s performances in these contests have been slightly improved, but time is running out for them to save themselves.

The Tynesiders are currently in 19th place in the Premier League table, and they are three points adrift of safety.

Their next match comes against Norwich City after the international break.

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