The Rafa Benitez Southampton press conference has taken place on Friday lunchtime.
The United boss has revealed that Jonjo Shelvey is fit to play against Southampton but won’t be on throw-in duty, the mdifielder havig broken his finger when getting in between Jamaal Lascelles and Mohamed Diame when they had a bust-up on the training pitch.
As for that incident, Rafa says the fight was just a ‘normal thing’ that happens and that to make up for it, Diame and Lascelles are buying lunch for the rest of the players.
Dummett and Haidara are still out injured but apart from that, Rafa says there are ‘just little problems’.
As for the earlier news of Mikel Merino now going from a loan player to permanent signing, the United boss believes the mdfielder ‘has the potential to be a full international for Spain’.
Rafa Benitez Southampton press conference:
“We were here training (during the international break) and after that, relaxing with the family.
“The Irish and Mitro came back happy (after World Cup qualifiers) but some weren’t. They have to prepare for the next challenge now.
“I’m really pleased to get the Mikel Merino deal done.
“He is a good professional working hard and the fans love him.
“It was clear the deal would be done. We knew from the U21s in Spain. It wasn’t a risk. We knew about his mentality, his quality.
“With his approach, Mikel Merino has the potential to be a full international for Spain.
“Mikel needs to keep his feet on the ground – the media tell him he will be a star but he needs to keep working.’
“It (the Lascelles/Diame fight) was nothing, the two of them will have to pay for lunch (for all the players), that was Mo’s idea.
“It (the fight) was just a normal thing and I have told Jamaal Lascelles to keep pushing the players.
“Mauricio Pellegrino was my player (at Liverpool) and was my assistant in Italy. He is already a good manager but he will be even better.
“He knows everything about me so he has an advantage. But then he was my player, so maybe I know all about him.
“We have two players out (Dummett & Haïdara), then just little problems.
“Jonjo has a finger injury, he won’t take the throw-ins!”