Newcastle players cancel Christmas to focus on relegation battle

Arsenal will be hoping to return to winning ways following a defeat and two draws recently

"We just have to be sure we have the options and see if they are possible because sometimes January is very hard".

At that time, the victory propelled them to seventh spot in the Premier League table, just two points off the Champions League places.

The club dropped into the Premier League's relegation zone after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Mesut Ozil's stunning first half volley was enough to give Arsenal a 1-0 win, though Newcastle can count themselves somewhat unlucky to have left empty-handed. Despite the Toon's squad being fairly healthy right now, Rafa Benitez hasn't lead his team to a win since the end of October.

"That's just the start of what's to come for us", he said.

"We did well in defence against a team with pace and quality".

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I don't even want to think about having to play Manchester City twice within three and a half weeks, but bottom line is, that four of our next five matches are against West Ham, Stoke, Brighton and Swansea, clubs that are all in the bottom six.

Asked if he would celebrate Christmas with his staff, manager Rafael Benitez said: "Normally we will not do it, and the players have also made a decision to cancel their Christmas party because they have taken responsibility and they think it's important to focus on football".

"We've seen it with Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace. We must stay calm".

"They said, 'Relegated?'. I said, 'Yes, relegated!'".

Benitez is prepared to take "risks" in the transfer market. I had a conversation with Lee about the players we maybe want to bring in and others who can go out.

"We were signing players for 200,000 Euros, some of them, and some of the top sides were playing £5million for players of the same age". Against West Ham, they took 22 shots and scored none. "Sometimes you have to do it". At the moment, if you don't have any players coming you can't sell anyone.

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