Rafael Benitez says Southampton win can give Newcastle confidence in survival bid
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 10/03/18 7:02pm
Rafael Benitez says Newcastle's 3-0 win over Southampton can give them huge confidence in their battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Kenedy struck after just 63 seconds and then again with 29 minutes gone to pave the way for a vital victory before Matt Ritchie completed the job 12 minutes into the second half.
Victory moves Newcastle five points clear of the relegation zone and within eight points of the 40-point mark Benitez has targeted for survival.
"It was a great game," the Spaniard told Sky Sports. "I think we needed to play with the intensity we played with from the beginning.
"The early goal gave us more confidence but overall the performance was really good. Hopefully we can keep this intensity and this momentum for the next game against Huddersfield which is 21 days away.
"We knew we needed to play with a high tempo if we wanted to get something from the game," he added.
"They are a good team, who have good possession. They also have players up front who have ability so we needed to stop them playing and we did well.
"After, we were moving the ball well and playing quick counter-attacks so there were a lot of positives for us."
Newcastle will now not play again until Huddersfield head for St James' Park in three weeks' time due to Tottenham's involvement in the FA Cup and the upcoming international break.
They will embark on a four-day training camp in Spain next week but while Benitez has admitted the extended break is not ideal for Newcastle, he has backed his side to stay up.
He said: "We know that it's not ideal but it's what we have so we have to manage these three weeks and we have to be ready for the next game.
"This result can give us a lot of confidence and belief. In the end, it's just what you need when you are in this type of situation. There are a lot of teams trying to avoid relegation but we have confidence that we can do it.
"There are still a lot of games to play but at least you know you can play in this way and you can get points. We have confidence we can do it."