Sean Longstaff up for the fight as Newcastle battle against relegation

Sean Longstaff is convinced Newcastle are up for the fight as they attempt to drag themselves out of Premier League relegation trouble.

Academy graduate Longstaff played his part on Saturday as the Magpies lifted themselves out of the drop zone with a 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Cardiff.

Just weeks after team-mate Matt Ritchie suggested there was a lack of belief within the club and Ayoze Perez spoke of “something wrong” at St James’ Park, Longstaff is adamant the Magpies have what it will take to avoid the drop.

And the 21-year-old midfielder thinks an FA Cup fourth-round victory over Watford this weekend will only help their survival mission.

Longstaff said: “There’s a lot of tired legs in there and a few bumps and bruises that need to be fixed, but judging by the Cardiff game everybody is up for the fight.

“Everybody will be raring to go again on Saturday. It’s a good chance to progress in the FA Cup. Winning breeds confidence and it doesn’t matter which competition it is.

“We won’t get ahead of ourselves as there are tough games coming up. It is about building confidence and everybody will focus this week and look forward to it.”

Rafael Benitez’s men, who have won only two of their last 10 league games, face another difficult run of fixtures after the cup tie.

The Magpies face Manchester City, Tottenham and in-form Wolves ahead of potential key home clashes with Huddersfield and Burnley.

Benitez is desperate to strengthen his squad during what remains of the January transfer window, with owner Mike Ashley having all but given up hope of offloading the club.

However, Longstaff’s emergence has given the Spaniard a midfield boost in recent weeks, with Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame struggling for fitness and Ki Sung-yueng on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup, where he too has picked up an injury.

The North Shields-born player made his home league debut against the Bluebirds and was thrilled to do so in such a potentially significant game.

He said: “It is hard to put it into words. It is unbelievable, but it is made all the sweeter by the win.

“Everybody was up singing and it was a great atmosphere. It is something you dream of. Any debut or game you have you want to win and I have made my Premier League home debut in a massive game.

“To get the win in front of the fans was amazing.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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