Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has told his players not to let complacency and over-confidence seep in to their performances in upcoming matches as the Magpies attempt to seal promotion from the Championship.
After an 11 match unbeaten which saw Benitez’s side beat promotion rivals Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town, Newcastle came back down to earth with a 3-1 home defeat to Fulham last weekend. Speaking to the Evening Chronicle, Benitez says he wants his squad to focus on the job in hand:
“It’s important first of all to realise still that it’s about finishing the job. We cannot make the mistake of having over-confidence and that’s it – so we have to try to continue to have confidence and try to do what we have to do.”
The Magpies are now level on points with Brighton, and lead the table just on goal difference from the Seagulls, while Huddersfield are six points behind with one game in hand after they capitalised on Newcastle’s defeat by beating Brentford on Saturday.
Benitez will be hoping that his players will be fully concentrated on the task when they face a struggling Birmingham City side on Saturday. Since appointing Gianfranco Zola as manager, the Blues have slipped to seventeenth in the table, and could be vulnerable as Newcastle look to recover from their defeat against Fulham.