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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sunderland's Mannone: Eight matches not enough for Benitez at Newcastle

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone isn't convinced Rafa Benitez can rescue Newcastle from relegation this season, and says it's not easy to take over a struggling club so late in the season.

The Black Cats and the Magpies battled to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, keeping Benitez's bunch three points from safety with just eight games to play.

Sunderland, who are facing their own relegation scrap, are just a point ahead of their rival, but Mannone says Benitez, who replaced Steve McClaren just this month, is facing an uphill journey.

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"They still had the problems in the first hour of the game [on Sunday], we saw that," Mannone said on Monday. "So I don't see how the new manager can sort everything out in the next eight games. It will be hard.

"It is difficult when a manager comes in for the last two months. It is not easy. I have seen it myself in the last couple of years.

"Benitez is a top manager. He has been at some good clubs. It will help Newcastle to have him. But we have to look at ourselves."

Norwich currently sit 17th in the Premier League table, two points above Sunderland, and will play the Black Cats and Newcastle in the upcoming weeks.

"We all play each other in a few weeks when we both go to Norwich," Mannone said.

"We have to seize our chances before we meet them. We have West Brom and Leicester at home so we have to take the chances before we go to Norwich.

"I am confident we can get out of it. The team has improved a lot. We look more solid. We create chances, scoring goals but we are still missing that edge to not concede.

"I am trying to do the best I can to not concede and I think we are all putting our foot in to help this club survive."

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