Benitez & Allardyce face ‘scary’ finish

21 Mar

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goal ended a run of six straight defeats against Sunderland

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez and Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce both expect their fight to stay in the Premier League to go down to the wire.

Both teams remain in the bottom three after drawing 1-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby, with Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late header earning Newcastle a point.

An increase in TV money means Premier League relegation could cost £100m.

“I think we will have to fight until the last game and the last minute, so we have to do it,” said Benitez.

After spurning a one-goal lead for a second successive game, Allardyce said: “Put those four points on the board now and we are feeling like we are going to be surviving and we are going to stay safe.

“Now we are going to go right to the wire to try to stay safe, and that’s the bottom line.”

Mitrovic’s 83rd-minute goal ended a run of six defeats against Sunderland and left the Magpies three points adrift of safety with eight games remaining.

Sunderland, who took the lead through Jermain Defoe’s 15th goal of the season, are a point better off in 18th place, two points behind Norwich.

Newcastle travel to the Canaries after the international break with Sunderland also facing them at Carrow Road on 16 April.

Our predicament is scary – Benitez

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Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland: We reacted very well – Benitez

After losing his first game at leaders Leicester, the result earned Benitez a first point since becoming Newcastle manager just over a week ago.

Asked if his team were now in a scary position, the former Real Madrid boss replied: “It was scary before. I am here because I have to give the team confidence and we have to improve things.

“We are creating chances, we are attacking, so we have to improve this part of the game and create more chances and Mitrovic or Papiss Cisse or the other strikers will score more goals and we will be fine.”

Allardyce targets four wins from eight games

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Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland: Draw is difficult to take – Allardyce

Allardyce, whose team have not kept a clean sheet in 18 consecutive games in all competitions, said his team need four wins from their eight remaining games.

“If we don’t start getting these clean sheets it’s going to be a massive problem,” he added.

“We are a team that has to score twice to win. Sadly we didn’t get the second goal and we conceded late on again.

“In the second half, I don’t know why we sat in and let Newcastle come at us. Maybe that was the size of the game, but in the end we haven’t done that and it’s two points dropped.

“We need four wins from the last eight, so it’s now must-win rather than draw.”


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