Rafael Benitez
Rafa Benitez has seen his side lose seven of their last eight matches.

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles believes his side have not yet been dragged into a relegation battle, despite going almost two months without a win.

The Magpies' 1-0 defeat at home against Everton on Wednesday (13 December) was their seventh in the last eight Premier League games and left them just a point above the relegation zone.

However, the former England youth international has dismissed fears Newcastle could be staring at a struggle for survival.

"A lot of people would probably have been happy with the points we are on if they were asked at the start of the season, so I am not going to say we are in a relegation battle," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"There are still loads of games to play. It's a long season. We are not looking at that, just taking things game by game."

Over the last month, Rafael Benitez's men have only picked one point in six games, courtesy of a draw away against fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion. More worryingly for the Spaniard, his side have conceded a combined 16 goals over the period, seven of them at St James' Park.

Against Everton, the Magpies dominated possession but could not make their superiority count and were punished for their lackadaisical defending by Wayne Rooney, who scored on Newcastle's home turf for the ninth time in his career.

The lack of defensive solidity is a major headache for Benitez, particularly as his side had only conceded eight goals in their first nine league games of the campaign, and Lascelles admitted the players confronted each other after the defeat to Everton.

"There were a few home truths said," the Frenchman added. "I don't want to leave it too late for things like that to be said. The reality is we are not in a great position and sometimes things need to be said that players do not want to hear. Hopefully it will get a reaction."

Newcastle face a tough run of games between now and the end of the year, with Saturday's (16 December) trip to Arsenal followed by a visit to West Ham United the following week, before back-to-back games at home against league leaders Manchester City and Brighton.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney celebrates scoring the winner against Newcastle on Wednesday. Getty Images