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20181019 Rafa Benitez.jpg

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One win will generate confidence, says Rafa

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Rafa Benítez is hopeful that confidence will start to flow through his Newcastle United side once the Magpies pick up their first win of the campaign.

United have amassed just two points from the first 24 available in the Premier League, while they also crashed out of the Carabao Cup to Championship outfit Nottingham Forest.

On Saturday, they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to St. James’ Park, the first of back-to-back clashes against teams in the bottom eight of the table.

With two more home games to come early next month, Benítez believes that victory will set the Magpies up nicely for an important run of fixtures, and – in the wake of comments made by Albion skipper Bruno – underlined the significance of the role the home support can play.

“The first win is always the most difficult. As soon as we win the first game, I think we will start having more confidence and it’ll be easier for us,” he said. “At the same time, we are playing at home, so our fans have something to prove – they have to prove that Bruno was wrong. Bruno was talking about the fans, saying they will be on top of the players if they make mistakes, and things like that.

“Our fans are very clever – they know that this team, they care. They work really hard. The players know our strengths and they know our weaknesses, and one of our strengths is having our fans behind the team. So, I think if (the fans) see something wrong, they will still be supporting the team.”

The Magpies looked set to break their duck a fortnight ago, when they raced into a 2-0 lead against Manchester United at Old Trafford, only to end up on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline after a frantic finale.

But, should they serve up a similar kind of performance on a more regular basis, Benítez is optimistic that it won’t be long before his players are rewarded for their efforts.

“We have looked through the analysis, and the most important thing for us was that we did really, really well for a long period. It was quite positive,” he said. The main thing for me was that we were capable against a team like Manchester United – with the players they have, the money they have, and the players they were able to bring off the bench – and we were able to do really well. We had a chance to score a third goal, had a penalty not given – many things that could be in our favour. But we did really well, that is the positive thing. If we continue like that, training the way we train and working hard, we will be fine.”

"The first win is always the most difficult. As soon as we win the first game, I think we will start having more confidence and it’ll be easier for us."

Rafa Benítez

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