Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez believes fans drove him OUT of Chelsea


The Magpies captain suffered a foot injury and is closing on a return to fitness, however, the clash at Stamford Bridge has proven to have come by too quickly, with former Blue Christian Atsu also set to miss out.

Javi Manquillo, Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle come in for DeAndre Yedlin, Isaac Hayden and Joselu, with Newcastle hoping to end a five-match winless run in the Premier League. Initially, he brought me to save the team and to achieve what we did achieve. The supporters have always been respectful to them and it is spot on. But manager Rafael Benitez will be looking nervously over his shoulder, with the team five points above the relegation zone.

The subsequent seven months proved to be predictably stormy, with the Spaniard, who lost his rag in a memorable press conference at Middlesbrough, remaining persona non grata with many fans despite steadying the ship after a woeful start to the campaign, securing a third-place finish and winning the Europa League in addition to reaching the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions. Now he's handling the rather different challenge of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.

Benitez did just that despite opposition to his reign, with Europa League glory topping a productive stint. "And if you stay up then you can start building again".

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"The difference between the top six and the others - you can see in some games that it's big, quite big", he says.

Newcastle United travel to face Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

"Chelsea did not play well against Swansea on Wednesday but they still got the win in the end, against a side who defend in numbers". "We know that it will be tough but still we have a belief that we can do it, that we can get a result".

Chelsea have won 15 of their 22 Premier League games against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge (W15 D6 L1), including each of the last four.