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Newcastle’s Benitez hoping Man City has one eye on Champions League

Newcastle United v Swansea City - Premier League

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Rafael Benitez, manager of Newcastle United reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Swansea City at St James’ Park on April 16, 2016 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Tuesday finds both the Top Four and relegation zone at a potential pivot point, as Manchester City and Newcastle United square off at St. James Park.

This is the match-in-hand the host Magpies have on Norwich City, and also a chance to pass both the Canaries and Sunderland.

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For Man City, which has been surging in both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, it’s an opportunity to move 7 points clear of fifth-place Manchester United (which hosts Crystal Palace on Wednesday).

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is hoping that Man City is less worried about those insurance points in the race for the Top Four, and keeping an eye toward next week’s UCL match-up with Atletico Madrid.

From The Chronicle:

“In the back of your head you are thinking about a semi-final or a final and if you are going to get an injury.

“They are professionals and they will try to win but in the back of their mind they won’t want to miss a game through injury.

“I think they have an eye on the Champions League and hopefully we can take advantage.”

Talking about it certainly won’t help make it a reality... or will it? Benitez is speaking from a position of experience, but is Man City is anything like Benitez’s Liverpool or other sides and how they treated similar situations? Newcastle will hope so.

Follow @NicholasMendola