The Newcastle manager believes his team can benefit from City's European distractions.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has told reporters that Manchester City's run to the Champions League semi-finals is something that his side can take advantage of at St. James' Park on Tuesday night, as quoted by the Chronicle.
The Magpies host Manuel Pellegrini's side looking to keep the momentum rolling in their battle for survival after securing a first win under the Spanish boss on Saturday.
Benitez has experience balancing a long Champions League run with a domestic league campaign, most notably leading Liverpool to European glory in 2005 whilst steering the club to fifth place in the Premier League.
He knows how such progress can shift a club's priorities, and with City out of the title race the 55-year-old believes their players may be more interested in protecting themselves than fighting at full tilt.
Benitez said, as quoted by the Chronicle: "They are doing so well in the Champions League. You can’t be just worried about Sergio Aguero or Kevin De Bruyne. They have a lot of good players. They played very well against Chelsea.
"I think they have an eye on the Champions League and hopefully we can take advantage. In the back of your head you are thinking about a semi-final or a final and if you are going to get an injury.
"They are professionals and they will try to win but in the back of their mind they won’t want to miss a game through injury."
Benitez's side have given themselves every fighting chance of avoiding relegation as their 3-0 win over Swansea City coupled with Norwich City's defeat to fellow strugglers Sunderland left them just three points adrift of safety with five games remaining.