Benitez refuses to set points target for survival - even though Sunderland boss Allardyce looks for 38

Rafael Benitez urges his Newcastle men on against Sam Allardyce's Sunderland a fortnight ago

Rafael Benitez urges his Newcastle men on against Sam Allardyce's Sunderland a fortnight ago

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Rafa Benitez is refusing to put a figure on the points total needed for Premier League survival.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes 38 points will be enough to keep the Wearsiders in the top flight.

But Benitez – whose side are a point behind 18th-placed Sunderland – is refusing to set a target for his second-bottom team ahead of tomorrow’s game against relegation rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road.

“I’m not doing any numbers now,” said the St James’s Park manager.

“The next game is the most important – we have to try to get three points.

“We’ve got eight games to play, and must concentrate on them one at a time.”

Benitez feels his players have drawn confidence from their last game, the Tyne-Wear derby

Newcastle came from behind to draw 1-1 against Sunderland at St James’s Park before the international break.

“The reaction of the team was positive,” he said.

“You want to win but to come back – it was really good. The fans appreciated the comeback, and now we have to show the right mentality and go to Norwich for the win.”