An unsurprisingly slightly subdued Rafa Benitez met the media on Tuesday lunchtime.
There to supposedly discuss the Burnley match, it was always a foregone conclusion that the United boss was going to be quizzed about the January transfer window which closes just over an hour after the final whistle at tomorrow night’s match.
Rafa Benitez refused to discuss the failure to sign Daniel Sturridge, whilst he did though rubbish headlines today that claimed Mikel Merino was being offered to clubs in Spain.
He predictably played a straight bat overall, yet again going down the line that there is still ‘time’ to bring players in and he is ‘confident we can do something’.
Each time he says that many journalists take the Newcastle Manager literally, as if he is really ‘confident’ transfers will happen. The reality of course is that he doesn’t want or need the distraction of the story all being about his unhappiness with lack of transfers, when talking ahead of such a vital game.
If signings aren’t made, then I think we will hear a very different story when Rafa talks to the media after that Burnley game.
Saying there is still time, is of course also reminding everybody that Mike Ashley still has the chance to belatedly back his manager.
As for players leaving Newcastle potentially, Rafa Benitez says that ‘two or three players’ are in talks with other clubs, but that they will only leave if he is allowed to bring in some of his targets.
As for Kenedy, Rafa claims he doesn’t know yet whether he will make his debut against Burnley, but the Newcastle boss is so detailed in his preparations, he will surely know whether he intends to play him. The answer on that one must surely be yes.
Rafa Benitez pre-Burnley press conference:
“We have some time and I am confident we can do something. We have an important game tomorrow. I will not talk about the window, I will focus on the game.
“We are in the bottom half of the table so we know it will be tough. We can still compete. It is always difficult but we are doing our job and we will wait and see what happens.
“A lot of managers agree the transfer window has to close before the games. Every game for us is important. This is the first one so it is the most important.
“The players are training and some of them know that their future is going one way or another. The rest are concentrating on the game.
“We have two or three players talking with clubs at the moment but it depends on if we can get some players in.
“This team is competitive and they try their best in every single game. That is something that is guaranteed. I think the fans appreciate that.
“The players have to be professional and think about the game. You have to make changes if you want to have fresh legs.
“Burnley are a good team. They are organised and they know what to do to get points. We will have to do well and we are confident that we can do it.
“In the end, it’s the Premier League so home or away, the rivals are strong. We will try to get three points.
“Kenedy is in the squad. He is one of the options. Maybe he has a chance but we are yet to decide. He has quality, he knows the league.”