Why Rafa Benitez has grounds for optimism at Newcastle

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez is hoping for a happier New Year at Newcastle United.

Benitez’s side, who have taken on Chelsea and Arsenal this month, are 18th in the Premier League after a run of eight defeats from their last nine games.

But three of the club’s next four games are against teams around them in the table.

Newcastle face West Ham United at the London Stadium this afternoon.

“Obviously, we have the problem of the bad run,” said manager Benitez.

“Can you get more confidence with a bad run? No.

“So how can we keep confidence high? It’s just training well, making sure the training sessions keep the spirit.

“We’ve been training very well – and I’ve been saying that for a while.

“We’re losing games because of little details – little mistakes – and we’re paying for that.

“We’re so close to changing things that we have to keep going and have confidence that we’ll do it.”