Newcastle fans can prove key to staying in Premier League, says Rafael Benitez
"We want to stay up and we need every single fan behind the players, every player giving everything, and every member of the staff trying to do our best."
Last Updated: 18/01/19 4:15pm
Rafael Benitez feels Newcastle United’s fanatical support can be decisive in the fight for Premier League survival.
Newcastle find themselves in the relegation zone, a point and a place behind Saturday's visitors Cardiff, as they go in search of a vital first win in seven league games.
Benitez's side will no doubt be buoyed by their 4-2 midweek FA Cup third-round replay win against Blackburn, where the Newcastle boss felt the fans showed the kind of passion he believes his team will need to retain their Premier League status.
He said: "There were around 2,500 away fans [at Ewood Park on Tuesday], so still our fans are really good.
"They support the team and they are behind the team, and that for me is a key factor for the future.
"We want to stay up and we need every single fan behind the players, every player giving everything, and every member of the staff trying to do our best.
"So I think it is very clear if we are not doing well, they have to be there [and] if we are doing well, we will enjoy like we did the other day."
Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden all limped away from Tuesday night's victory at Blackburn, but Benitez is keeping his fingers crossed that several could make the Cardiff game.
"We have to assess some players because we had too many things in the cup game, but I'm more or less optimistic," he said.
"We have more or less the same problems we had - the new problems, we will decide tomorrow (Saturday).
"But I am quite optimistic with Hayden, with Schar, with Clark, with Lascelles. I think they can be available if everything is fine."
However, defender Paul Dummett and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will miss out once again with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively.
Benitez added: "They are still the same, getting better, but still not ready."