Rafael Benitez has asked Newcastle fans to 'stick together' as the club begin the year just above the relegation zone
Rafael Benitez believes that Newcastle will be in the battle for Premier League survival until the end of the season and has urged the fans to stick together.
Newcastle's goalless draw with Brighton on Saturday leaves them one point above the relegation zone in 16th, having won just once in their last 12 matches.
Benitez's side travel to another out-of-form side in Stoke on Monday, with the Potters one place and one point above Newcastle, and the Magpies' boss has asked his supporters to keep faith in the team.
"I think it is clear that we will have a similar situation until the end of the season," Benitez said.
"We have to stick together, stay calm and keep working hard.
"It is not a secret, this is the only way for us.
"It is always difficult. It depends on what you do in the summer."
Asked if he thinks the supporters need to be patient, Benitez said: "The support has been really good for a while.
"Watching these kind of games, they have to realise that we need them behind the team. It is not difficult to understand.
Newcastle have won just once in their last 12 league matches
"If we have the support of the fans, we can challenge and we can compete.
"If we don't have that, then it will be even more difficult for us.
"We want to stay in the Premier League so we have to stick together."