Benitez targets victory over Chelsea

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has challenged his players to end the season with the victory over Chelsea he believes they deserve.

The Magpies head into their final fixture at St James’ Park on the back of four successive defeats since they effectively clinched their top-flight status for the new campaign.

The former Chelsea interim boss said at a media conference: “I said today to my players, that it would be important because it would be a pity to do so well during the season and then go to the end (and not win), especially as we play at home.

“We have to try to finish on a high because they deserve to do that and also the fans deserve to see the team winning the last game.

“It has been a great season. At the beginning, we were thinking that the target was to stay up, and I can read about a lot of managers now saying, ‘Great because we are safe’, but we were safe five games before, so that is amazing.

“For me, the key has been the unity, togetherness between fans, players, staff, everyone, and the work-rate of this group of players.”

Kenedy, on loan at Newcastle from Chelsea, in ineligible to play against the Blues.

A Chelsea win and Liverpool losing at home to Brighton would see Antonio Conte’s side snatch a Champions League place.