Newcastle United head into their crucial Premier League encounter with managerless West Brom on Tuesday on a run of worrying form, suffering their fourth consecutive league defeat after the 3-0 debacle at home to Watford last Saturday.
After initially adjusting well to the demands of the Premier League - after last season's promotion - the Magpies have steadily fallen and find themselves 14th.
With the imposing trip to champions Chelsea to look forward to this weekend, they could find themselves conceivably hovering close to the relegation drop zone come Sunday evening.
Reported by the Daily Star, Benitez believes unity on and off the pitch can be Newcastle’s greatest asset as they bid to arrest the decline. The Magpies' manager said: “To criticise our players is not fair because they are giving everything,
“If we make the mistake of criticising all the time, they will into the next game more anxious and nervous.
“In the past when I came here, everyone was questioning the commitment of some players. Then last year in the Championship, everyone was saying fantastic commitment."
Although performances and results are a concern, the experienced manager is urging the loyal Newcastle fans to remain behind their side and avoid the temptation to turn on their players and make the playing atmosphere toxic.
The Spanish manager appreciates the key to a trouble-free second half to the campaign lies in quality recruitment, although with little progress on Amanda Staveley’s alleged takeover, optimism of being given a significant transfer war chest to strengthen the squad in January looks unlikely.
Benitez added: “If we can bring in better players in the future, that’s fine but in January, it could be even worse, so we have to stick together and be sure that until the end of the season, we maximise what we have.”