Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez refuses to suggest a points target needed for Magpies' survival

St James Park

The club are currently second from bottom in the Premier League.

Rafael Benitez has refused to suggest the number of points that Newcastle should be looking to target to ensure their Premier League survival, the Shields Gazette reports.

With eight games to go this term, the Magpies find themselves second bottom in the top flight, three points adrift of safety. And ahead of their crucial game against fellow relegation candidates Norwich - Alex Neil's men are the team that occupy the spot just above the bottom three - Benitez insisted that he was just concentrating on getting a good result against the Canaries, rather than worrying about a particular points target.

"I'm not doing any numbers now," he told the Shields Gazette.

"The next game is the most important. We have to try to get three points. We must concentrate on them one at a time."

While the desire to avoid suggesting a number may be down to the Spaniard's lack of experience when it comes to being involved in a relegation battle in the division, he may have also tried to avoid looking too far ahead to avoid potentially putting further pressure on the players.

By suggesting a target, the squad arguably have that number in the back of their minds, and that may affect their performances as the pressure will inevitably mount if they look set to fall well short, or may wrongfully allow them to relax if they are well on course to reach and surpass the total.

And that mentality of working towards a target may do them more harm than good as a surprise run of form from one of their rivals could change the complexion of the race, and leave it too late for the Magpies to step their game up a gear. 

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