Rafa Benitez is a happier man now that Newcastle United has rebounded from a historically-poor start to the season, but he’s sounding a lot of the same notes.
[ RECAP: Burnley 1-2 Newcastle ]
The level head which kept the Magpies above water, so to speak, when they opened the season with a murderers’ row of Top Four challengers, remains on a pretty even keel with Newcastle on a four-match unbeaten run which includes three-straight wins.
The latest, a 2-1 win over Burnley on Monday, required resolute defense and collective cool after Burnley pulled a goal back in front of a loud and desperate Turf Moor. From The Chronicle:
“I have said before it will be a long running race,” Benitez said. “It is long distance so we have to carry on.
“Now we have won three in a row. What does that mean? Nothing.”
Well, not really nothing…
“We’re happier and have more confidence, but we still have to keep winning games if we want to stay up. It is the same message now as when we were losing. Keep going, keep doing things in the same way.”
Only Wolves and the top six teams on the table have allowed fewer goals than Newcastle’s 16, and the Magpies now have a four-point advantage on 18th place (good for a little breathing room from the drop zone).
Next up is a challenging visit from West Ham and an even tougher trip to Everton before Wolves visit St. James’ Park. Getting four points from that group of games will be an achievement for Benitez.