Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez's Newcastle are in 13th place in the Premier League tableReuters

Rafael Benitez has said he is confident Newcastle will avoid relegation this season after seeing the Magpies record a dominant 3-0 win over Southampton at St James' Park.

Kenedy scored twice and Matt Ritchie added a third to take Newcastle five points clear of the relegation zone to 13th place on the league table.

Benitez's side are now eight points short of reaching the 40-point mark, which the Spaniard has said will likely secure the club's Premier League status.

Speaking after Newcastle's win against Southampton, Benitez said he was encouraged by the team's performance.

"The early goal gave us more confidence but overall the performance was really good," the former Liverpool boss told Sky Sports.

"We knew we needed to play with a high tempo if we wanted to get something from the game.

"They are a good team, who have good possession. They also have players up front who have ability so we needed to stop them playing and we did well.

"After, we were moving the ball well and playing quick counter-attacks so there were a lot of positives for us."

Newcastle face a three-week break before their next league game against Huddersfield March 31 due to the upcoming international break.

The club's players will fly out to Spain for a training camp this week, with Benitez admitting that the lengthy gap between the Southampton and Huddersfield games was not ideal.

He said: "This result can give us a lot of confidence and belief. In the end, it's just what you need when you are in this type of situation. There are a lot of teams trying to avoid relegation but we have confidence that we can do it.

"There are still a lot of games to play but at least you know you can play in this way and you can get points. We have confidence we can do it."