Rafa Benitez is confident his side will claim an important extra point over their relegation rivals
Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Robbie Barratt. 

Rafa Benitez is confident his side will claim an important extra point over their relegation rivals

His side have went from not winning a game all season to winning three on the bounce and now looking up the table instead of over their shoulder and the Spaniard explains how it has be done.

Aaron Hindhaugh

Rafa Benitez has angered many pundits over the last two seasons with his defensive tactics despite it guiding Newcastle United to a top half finish last season.

The Spaniard always ensures the Magpies are in the game and have a chance of getting something from every game which has shown as they have only been beaten by a margin of more than one goal once this season.

This is the case in the Magpies games against  Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea already this season. 

"We did our research" - Benitez

Last season Newcastle finished ahead of Bournemouth and West Ham despite being level on points with them as they had a superior goal difference.

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This is what Benitez always keeps in mind when setting up his teams as he knows how crucial goal difference can be.

He explained this to The Chronicle: "Imagine that you go to play against Manchester City at the end of the season and you need a draw. Then you draw the game and everybody says: ‘Oh, fantastic result.’ This is the same, it’s an extra point."

"What we have to understand is that we are in the game." When explaingn why he sets up more defensively in some games.

Goal difference is a big point down the bottom

The Spaniard spoke about how this plan came so close to being perfect against Chelsea earlier in the season: "In our game against Chelsea, we were in the game. "

"They scored, we scored, then we made another mistake and they won - but we maybe could have gotten one point."

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"One point against Chelsea now would be seen as a great result," he added. 

"So goal difference is a point to us.”

Goal difference can be the difference between a team staying in the Premier League or going down to the Championship whihc is why Benitez is determinded to preserve Newcastle's goal difference and make it the best of the rest.

"We did our research and we knew that the goal difference could be massive last season, and this time."