Rafael Benitez says his Newcastle players face a fight until the final minute of the season to preserve their Premier League status.
The Spaniard saw his side strike late at St James’ Park to avoid a seventh successive derby defeat by arch-rivals Sunderland and snatch a 1-1 draw which ultimately did little to improve their situation at the wrong end of the table.
However, he remains confident that if the improvement he has seen in his first two games at the helm continues, they can still drag themselves out of trouble.
When it was suggested to him that the table, which shows the Magpies are three points adrift of safety with eight games remaining, looked scary, Benitez said: “It was scary before.
“I am here because I have to give the team confidence and we have to improve things. Again I will say at Leicester, you could see a lot of good things; still not enough. Today in the second half, a lot of good things; not enough.
“We have eight games to play and we know they will be incredibly difficult. We know it will be difficult, for sure. I knew before.
“We are creating chances, we are attacking and we can be there, so we have to improve this part of the game and create more chances and [Aleksandar] Mitrovic or Papiss Cisse or the other strikers will score more goals and we will be fine.
“But I can maybe say that we will have to fight until the last game and the last minute, so we have to do it.”