Upbeat Benitez issues Newcastle challenge as he chats £18m Almiron

Rafael Benitez has urged Newcastle to use their shock victory over Manchester City as a springboard for Premier League survival, as the Toon boss prepares to welcome Miguel Almiron.

Matt Ritchie’s coolly-taken 80th-minute penalty secured a 2-1 win over City – their first league win over them in 23 attempts – at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening, easing the Magpies five points clear of the drop zone in the process.

It came a little short of 12 months since a 1-0 home victory over Manchester United provided the catalyst for their escape last season.

He said: “I hope so. It’s a good example that we can use in the future.

“For the players, they will feel that doing things this way, we can win against anyone because we have been close against the top sides, we have not conceded many goals and everyone has been talking about the goal difference.

“But in this case, it’s not just the goal difference, it’s three points and a lot of confidence for the future.”

Benitez, who is hoping for a transfer window breakthrough on Wednesday with Paraguay international Almiron scheduled to have a medical on Tyneside, is keeping his fingers crossed that they can repeat the feat.

Benitez had placed Almiron towards the top of his wish-list for the January transfer window and a successful conclusion to negotiations before Thursday night’s deadline would go some of the way towards quelling his unrest at a lack of progress to date.

It is understood the fee will be in the region of £18million – finally surpassing the club record £16million Newcastle paid for Michael Owen back in 2005.

Miguel Almiron TEAMtalk

Asked how morale-boosting the victory, which lifted the club five points clear of the relegation zone, and a successful completion of the Almiron deal would supply, he added: “The main thing is if we have good news tomorrow, it will be positive.

“It’s not a question of just the record, it’s to do the right things you need to be stronger and to have more chances to stay up.”


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