Rafa Benitez aware Sunderland are in a better position than Newcastle

Rafa Benitez is aware Sunderland are in a better position than Newcastle right now, as both North Eastern clubs look to survive the drop.

The Magpies and the Black Cats have been fighting relegation for the majority of the season, both changing managers in their quest for survival.

Sunderland currently sit on 31 points after 34 games, out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Newcastle are one point behind having played one game more, in 19th place in the table.

Benitez has made a marked improvement to the Magpies since taking charge, but he still faces a real challenge in keeping the Tyneside outfit up, and he is aware Sunderland have the better chance of survival right now.

The Spaniard said: “They [Sunderland] are in a better position than us for sure, but if we can win this, then we will have more confidence, belief and we can approach that Aston Villa game.

“The main one is this one. I am just looking at this game and we’ll see after that.”

Newcastle take on Crystal Palace this weekend, hoping to continue their fight for survival with a positive result.

Last weekend, the Eagles booked their place in the FA Cup final with a victory over Watford, and Benitez believes some of Alan Pardew’s players could be affected by their upcoming clash.

“Everybody knows what it means to play in that final,” he added.

“When you are there, you have to be careful. I don’t see any player saying ‘I don’t care about the final’. I am sure they will be thinking about it.

“It’s normal when you’re in the final. Players are thinking if they pick up an injury, they can’t play, so it’s in the back of their heads.”

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