Second-half goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata were not enough to prevent the Blues from slipping to a 3-1 loss at St James’ Park, leaving the west Londoners 16 points behind leaders Manchester United.
Fourth-placed Tottenham can close the gap on Benítez’s side to just a point if Spurs can beat West Brom on Sunday.
But Benítez insisted he is happy with his side’s character and is still backing them to finish in the top three.
“The character the players showed in the second half shows something is right,” said the Chelsea interim boss.
“If we cannot control these games then it is something we have to improve, but today we had a good reaction that was positive and next week we have players that are coming back. Hopefully we can play well and win and carry on.
“Every single game we had good chances, we have played good football in the majority of them, and when we couldn’t we still had chances to win.
“The team has good team spirit and I am confident we will finish in the top three.”
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news