Newcastle currently occupy 18th position in the Premier League table, one point behind Sunderland who could relegate their rivals if they beat Everton in their game in hand this week.
Benitez has history with the Toffees from his previous spell at rivals Liverpool, and he once sensationally called the blue side of Merseyside a small club after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in 2007.
The Spaniard later explained in an interview with the Independent that his comments were in relation to Everton’s style of play that day rather than the actual club, yet the damage was already done.
Now, Benitez is relying on that very same club to pick up a positive result at Sunderland and preserve Newcastle’s top-flight status for a few more days at least, and he was reminded of his previous comments.
“It is not relevant. Everton is a team that have very good professionals and they will try to win,” Benitez told the Mirror. “We have to wait, believe that they can get that result and after we have to be ready to do our job against Tottenham.”
Form heading in to the match at the Stadium of Light doesn’t bode well for Newcastle, what with the Black Cats beating Chelsea at the weekend and Everton suffering a defeat at Leicester City.
The Merseyside club have vastly underperformed under Roberto Martinez this season, and with only one win in nine league matches it appears they are already looking forward to a summer break.