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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 March 2019

Rafa Benitez tells Newcastle players they are not out of the woods yet

Victory over Burnley on Tuesday was Newcastle's fourth on the trot at St James' Park to boost Premier League survival hopes

Newcastle United's Mohamed Diame, second left, in action against Burnley in the Premier League on Tuesday. Reuters
Newcastle United's Mohamed Diame, second left, in action against Burnley in the Premier League on Tuesday. Reuters

Rafael Benitez has warned his Newcastle United team their Premier League survival mission is far from over after seeing them take a significant step towards safety.

Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Burnley, which came just three days after they beat Huddersfield Town by the same score, eased the Magpies seven points clear of the relegation zone with 10 games left to play.

However, as he turned his attention to Saturday's trip to West Ham United, Benitez was refusing to look any further ahead than strictly necessary.

He said: "Obviously winning games, you have more confidence and then the pressure is different, but still we have to have the same idea: one game at a time, the next game is the most important.

"If we are where we are now, it's because we are focused on that and we have to do exactly the same. We cannot think the job is done, no chance.

"There's no over-confidence. We have to keep going - we can lose games, but we have to approach every game with the same mentality as today."

The win was Newcastle's fourth on the trot at St James' Park and took their tally from the last six league outings to 13 points.

It was secured by defender Fabian Schar's stunning 24th-minute strike and in-form midfielder Sean Longstaff's first Premier League goal, which arrived 14 minutes later as the Clarets struggled before the break and left themselves too much to do after it.

Longstaff has risen to prominence in recent weeks after emerging from the Academy ranks, and did his hopes of an England Under 21s call-up little harm with another impressive display.

Benitez said: "I have said so many times when he was coming with us and training with us, he was doing well and he was lucky enough to make his debut sooner rather than later because of injuries, but after, he deserved to be there.

"We decided to keep him in the team because he's working hard, he's playing well, his understanding with [Isaac] Hayden now is quite good, so there are a lot of positives when you have a young lad, local lad playing and scoring goals, obviously."

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was disappointed to see his side surrender its eight-game unbeaten league run on Tyneside, but insisted he could not be too critical of his players.

Asked if they had failed to reach their recent standards, Dyche said: "We were a long way off, particularly first half. We were a bit better second half, but first half, a long way off, and sometimes that can happen.

"Credit to them [Newcastle] as well because I thought they were better first half, they were sharper, their anticipation was better. It was a mixed bag, but I believe they deserved to win. I thought their performance overall was better than ours.

"But I'm not going to start criticising a group who have been unbeaten in eight games and have had some massive performances and big results and big points on the board."

Updated: February 27, 2019 11:17 AM

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