Rafael Benitez confident St James’ Park will stay faithful against Brighton

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Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has warned Brighton not to be taken in by Bruno’s suggestion that they can turn the Toon Army against their team.

The sides meet at St James’ Park on Saturday with hosts desperate for a Premier League victory – something they are yet to achieve this season – in their second campaign in the top flight since emerging together from the Sky Bet Championship.

Seagulls defender Bruno claimed earlier this week that the visitors could pile the pressure on the hosts if they could make the crowd already in open rebellion against owner Mike Ashley restless, but Benitez is confident that will not happen.

“Our fans, they have something to prove – that Bruno is wrong, because Bruno was talking about the fans will get on top of the players if they make mistakes,” Benitez said.

“But our fans are very clever. They know this team: they care, they are professionals and they care and they work really hard.

“They know also our strengths and weaknesses and one of our strengths is our fans behind the team. If they see something wrong, they will still be supporting the team.

“I’m sure at the end of the game and at the end of the season that everybody will be happy because the relationship between the players and the fans is quite strong. They showed that in the Championship, they showed that last year, so I think Bruno is wrong.”

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Newcastle are without a win all season and have tasted victory in only one of their last 14 games dating back to last season.

The Magpies came within 20 minutes of ending that run last time out at Manchester United after taking a shock 2-0 lead, only to slip to defeat as Alexis Sanchez capped a concerted comeback with a last-gasp winner, but Benitez was able to take plenty of positives from an ultimately disappointing game.

The Spaniard added: “We were doing the analysis and the most important thing was to understand what we did really well for a long period and what was wrong at the end.

“We were capable against a team like Manchester United to do really well. We had the chance to get a third goal and had a penalty not given.

“We did really well, that is the positive thing. If we continue like that and training as hard as we do, we will be fine.”

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