Benitez thinks one more win will make Newcastle safe from drop

Rafael Benitez believes one more win will be sufficient to secure Premier League survival for Newcastle.

The Magpies edged a step closer to safety after Matt Ritchie claimed a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

Ritchie’s stunning half-volley moved the north east club onto 35 points, seven clear of the relegation zone with seven top-flight fixtures remaining.

“We have to keep going, the job is not done. We have to keep winning games,” said manager Benitez.

“I think it could be 38 points (to stay up), it depends. Obviously, 40 is guaranteed for me.

“I think 38 will be enough, so we have to keep winning if we can.”

Newcastle’s comfortable position in 13th place is remarkable given they registered just three points from their opening 10 games of the campaign.

A run of five successive home wins prior to the trip to the south coast helped propel Benitez’s side away from trouble.

The Spaniard will reward his squad with time off during the international break ahead of the game at Arsenal on April 1.

“I think they are working so hard, you can see every game – until the last minute, again,” he said.

“Sometimes I think that it’s done and they give up and we didn’t do it and it was a great reaction.

“They have to relax a little bit, enjoy with their families and come back with their batteries charged.”

After Salomon Rondon’s free-kick put Newcastle ahead at the end of the first half, Bournemouth turned the game in their favour thanks to Joshua King’s brace.

King has now scored six times in his last five matches on home soil and has 11 top-flight goals for the season.

He hopes to add another six strikes to that tally before the end of the campaign.

“I’m not really counting away or home games or where I score goals, I’ve just got a mark of where I’m trying to beat my best record of 16 (in 2016/17) and I’ve got seven games left to do that,” he told afcb.co.uk.

While King will be away with Norway before the Cherries travel to Leicester on March 30, his team-mates not on international duty will be in Dubai for a mid-season training camp.

He added: “I’m going to play against Spain and Sweden so that’s on my mind and obviously representing my country is an honour.

“But I think the boys will go to Dubai, train hard and come back fit.”