The Rafa Benitez Cardiff Press Conference has taken place on Thursday lunchtime.

The United boss confirming that he has now spoken to Mike Ashley and the club’s owner has congratulated the Manager and team – with Rafa hoping  to meet Ashley next week to talk about his ‘future’.

As for Lee Charnley, Rafa did speak to him after his questioning by HMRC officials but claims they only spoke about football matters.

As for immediate matters, Rafa Benitez says Dwight Gayle won’t be ready, whilst Jesus Gamez is a doubt for Friday night and he named four other players (see below) who definitely miss the Cardiff game due to injuries/need for rest and not risk injury.

First quotes from the Rafa Benitez Cardiff Press Conference:

“Yes, I have spoken to Mike Ashley about preparing for next season and he congratulated us – I hope to meet him about my future next week.

“I have spoken to Lee Charnley, both yesterday evening and earlier today about the pre-season…but we just concentrate on football and training.

“What we have achieved has been really important for everyone here.

“It is a great achievement and the players deserve credit for that.

“If we win our games and Brighton make mistakes, we will be champions. We will try to do it.

“Cardiff are very competitive. It will be a difficult game.

“Lascelles, Ritchie, Hanley & Anita are not in the squad because they need to rest injuries – but we do hope to have them for the last one (Barnsley).

“We will challenge Brighton and see what happens. We have two games, and we have to do our best.”

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  • Jimblag23

    A blow to lose Ritchie.

    • Andy Mac

      On the plus side maybe an Mbemba/Clark central pairing ?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        in my opinion the best pairing

        • mentalman

          We may see Dummett in the middle and give haidara or lazaar some game time

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            could be you never know with Rafa

          • Peter Bray

            Or might he try this 3 at the back that some teams are playing at the moment, Mbemba / Clark / Dummett with Yedlin right wing back and either Haidara / Lazaar as left wing back.

      • nevfur

        Doesn’t look like a maybe lol. Hope Cardiff don’t have a big man or that pairing will struggle.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Mike must be coming up for the last game of the season, wonder if they`ll have his Gallowgate Flag ready in time

  • HenrySlade

    I don’t think that the contract Rafa signed at the end of last season is as binding as we all thought. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a ‘break clause’ allowing him to walk away at the end of this season if he so wished. I have a horrible feeling that he’s going to go.

    I hope I’m wrong because I love the man, but he’s not going to get the backing from Ashley that he’s demanding. Also, Charnley’s ability to negotiate transfers has been serious compromised!

  • Blackburn1066

    Rafa is going no where only the little fat shop keeper will make him go