Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks is certain that Rafael Benitez will not lose his nerve in the pressure cooker of the Premier League relegation battle, but cannot say the same for the Newcastle United players. 

In an end-to-end game at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon, Newcastle slipped to a 3-2 defeat to Norwich, via an injury time goal.

The result means that with just seven games left to play, Newcastle are six points from safety. And though Benitez has never been involved in a relegation dogfight before, Crooks is certain the former Real Madrid boss will not lose his nerve.

Crooks however is unsure about the Newcastle players being able to follow the Spaniard's example and explained they must show courage as well as being able to hold their nerve under pressure.

Crooks said on the BBC's Final Score programme: "You need courage at this stage and to hold your nerve. [Aleksandar] Mitrovic did it beautifully for the penalty, but other people let him down; he's got the big game mentality.


"What I think is interesting is Benitez looks composed.

"He will go to the wire. He won't lose his nerve.

"Benitez won't lose his nerve.

"His players might, but he won't."

Next up for Newcastle is a visit to Southampton next weekend, while the following weekend then sees Swansea City travel to St. James' Park.