Rafa Benitez confirms Mikel Merino back injury, says would rather play Mbemba than Colback in midfield!
The Rafa Benitez Bournemouth press conference has taken place on Friday lunchtime.
The United boss confirming that Mikel Merino will play no part against Bournemouth.
Rafa also confirmed that Merino wouldn’t be heading off with the Spanish Under 21s either.
Instead he will stay for treatment on Tyneside.
The Newcastle Manager says it is a problem with the midfielder’s lower back and they will have to wait and see how it responds to treatment/rest.
Stating that he will be absent for ‘at least a couple of weeks’, difficult to see Mikel Merino playing any part at Old Trafford on 18 November.
Rafa Benitez also confirmed the 21 year old Spaniard first had pain in his back during the Liverpool match, which then explains why the manager didn’t start with Merino against either Southampton or Crystal Palace, trying to manage the injury.
Asked about other options in the centre of midfield, Benitez said he has three or four options.
When asked about Jack Colback, the manager confirmed there was no way back for him, and if necessary he would play Chancel Mbemba in midfield ahead of the ginger Geordie.
A story to be told there…maybe one day we’ll find out what’s gone on.
Rafa Benitez Bournemouth press conference:
“Mikel Merino will be out for at least a couple of weeks.
“We will wait to see how he is with his lower back, he felt it originally against Liverpool.
“Last week, we had Isaac Hayden with little problems but for this game he is fine. We have 3 or 4 players for that position (centre midfield).
“Jack Colback is training with the Under 23s at the Academy, he knows the situation and I only concentrate on players that I actually have.
“Without Merino, we can play Mo Diame, Shelvey, Hayden, and Henri Saivet.
“We can also play Chancel Mbemba there – Jack Colback knows the situation.
“We are fine and maybe a draw (at Burnley) could have been more fair but we have to concentrate on the next game.
“I have told the players something they already know, we have to have perspective.
“Nobody was expecting we would be in the top ten.
“We are much better than people were expecting. It could be better but it could be worse. We have to improve the team every week.
“We have Paul Dummett training but not with the team yet. He is getting closer.
“We have to be competitive and make sure we are good enough to stay up. Then we can continue to build from that.
“These teams (such as Bournemouth) know the Premier League now. They have a clear idea to stay in the Premier League as a target.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]