Former Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine Jenas has claimed that the club would “100%” get relegated if Rafael Benitez was not their manager.
The former Liverpool boss took over the North-East outfit towards the end of the 2015-16 campaign, but could not steer the club to Premier League safety.
Last season in the Championship, the Magpies were the stars of the show as they gained promotion thanks to an 85-goal haul.
Now that they are back in the top flight, the team have struggled for positive results, and have only found the back of the net 21 times in 23 games.
Goals have been a major problem for the Magpies, with the likes of Dwight Gayle and Joselu failing to meet expectations.
Gayle has netted three times in the league, while his teammate has recorded four goals since the season got underway.
As it stands, Newcastle are 15th in the table, three points above the relegation zone, which is currently occupied by Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.
Jenas, who played for the North-East outfit between 2002 and 2005, has claimed that the team would already have one foot in the second tier if it were not for Benitez.
While speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, the retired midfielder said:
“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the Premier League era where teams are looking forward to going to St James’Park more than they are now. You have got to be realistic and this Newcastle side are not a top team. It is really not.
“If they remain in the Premier League this year it is a miracle as far as I am concerned. When I look at them individually and if Benitez wasn’t there, they would 100% go down.”