2016 was quite a successful year for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle; the former Premier League side have been one of the more dominant teams in the Sky Bet Championship this season, and a return to the Premier League looks likely. 

However, while satisfied with his team's form, the Newcastle boss believes his side has plenty more to offer going into the later half of the season.

As reported in the Chronicle, Benitez said: “I am really pleased because it is not an easy league.

“To have won 17 games at this stage of the season is quite good. We have lost games, but we are still winning a lot. We have a good team, and we work very hard.

“In the bad moments we need our experience but we have had a lot of good moments. The main thing for me is to keep doing that and improve the little things.”

Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship

Benitez has got the Magpies playing a fluent attacking style of football that has captivated fans and brought a positivity to Tyneside once again. The side boasts an impressive goal tally of 48, making them the most lethal scoring side in the league.

Newcastle currently sit second two points behind league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion, although the Magpies have a six-point buffer from fellow title contenders Reading and Huddersfield Town.

After their recent fixture against Blackburn United which saw the Geordies suffer a one-nil loss, Benitez will be hoping his side can get their momentum rolling once again in 2017 as they prepare for an FA Cup showdown with Birmingham City.