Rafa Benitez has been attending to his media commitments ahead of Manchester United on Saturday.

The Newcastle boss saying at his press conference that his team ‘will have to do almost everything right, perfect, to make sure we can get three points’.

The home side have won all five games at Old Trafford so far, scoring 15 Premier League goals in the process and conceding none.

Jose Mourinho says that long-term injured trio Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Rojo are ‘ready to play’, which sounds a little unlikely that they actually will be involved, but either way it is a massive task ahead for NUFC.

For Rafa, he confirmed today that Atsu, Lascelles and Merino would all be missing, which seemingly makes his team selection pretty straightforward in most positions.

At the end of his press conference, Rafa injected a bit of humour.

Asked whether Jonjo Shelvey would step in as captain in Lascelles’ absence, Rafa answered with a big smile on his face: “We are not thinking about that because I don’t know if Shelvey will play!” The comment producing much laughter from the assembled media.

This is the type of match where Jonjo Shelvey has to step it up and take responsibility, show his quality AND be a positive influence on others, rather than any kind of repeat of his ridiculous behaviour that brought a red card against Spurs on the opening day, when he was also captain.

Rafa Benitez:

“Manchester United have so much quality in the team.

“They keep the ball, they pass the ball, they create chances, they score goals and they don’t concede too much.

We have to be strong in defence and when we regain the ball, try and create something on the counter attack.

“They have a team that can compete in every competition.

“And normally, the (Man Utd) fans are demanding that they have to be at the top, and they have to win the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup – everything. But, it is normal in a club that has this potential.

“I think, just yesterday, they were talking about the profit they have had already. It is always massive and they have to compete for everything.

“In terms of points, I would have been happy winning against Bournemouth and maybe not winning against Manchester United. But, now that we have lost to Bournemouth, we will try to win against Manchester United.

“We know it is difficult, because they are a good team and they have very good players, so we will have to do almost everything right, perfect, to make sure we can get three points.”

‘With Jamaal Lascelles out, will Jonjo Shelvey be Captain?’

(Rafa with big smile on his face) “We are not thinking about that because I don’t know if Shelvey will play!”



  • Wor Lass

    I think all of our players give 100% so I`m not disrespecting anyone but I really can`t see us getting anything from this game. I`m normally pretty optimistic but, in this instance, I fear the worst. We can`t score goals, we don`t have a left back and we`re missing our leader at the back – it really showed against Bournemouth. Manure are still smarting from that loss at Huddersfield and players will be conscious of the fact that three big names are almost ready to reclaim their places. They`ll be well up for it. For us to have any chance, every player has to step up to the mark and perform at the top of their abilities. Not impossible – it`s football (and the Toon!) after all – but a hard ask. Win, lose or draw we just need a good performance to get the momentum going again.

  • Peaky Magpie

    I’m a bit worried about Clark after the Irish collapsed against Denmark,maybe Mbemba should start alongside Lejeune,tricky one.

  • Steve Pearce

    Seeing we have one of the worst ever “strikers” in our history our best chance is to play a ten man defence and come away with a point with a 0-0….

    • Whitehurst

      Rafa’s tactics summed up!!

  • Whitehurst

    Usual class response from RB….one can only imagine the response to the same question from the likes of Pardew & MaClaren?! 💥😵🔫