Rafa Benitez has taken his pre-Manchester United press conference head of Sunday’s match.

The Newcastle boss saying that Jesus Gamez is still out but that Islam Slimani is a possibility to play against Man Utd.

Rafa says that the Leicester striker is still not taking part in the full training sessions but he will have another look at him tomorrow, to judge whether he can be available for Sunday’s game.

Quizzed on tactics, the United boss says that the simple fact is that with the players he has available to him at Newcastle for most matches: ‘We are not a defensive team, we are a team that has to defend.’

Whilst Rafa Benitez was limited to loan signings in January (in last five years under Mike Ashley, no players have been bought in four of the last five January windows), Manchester United have added Alexis Sanchez…

As it happens, Sanchez has never scored against Newcastle, so hopefully that record continues on Sunday, as well as his stellar team-mates also failing to score.

Rafa Benitez:

Islam Slimani did part of the training and we will see how he is tomorrow.

“We have Jesus Gamez getting better but it is too soon for him.

Manchester United were very good before and they are a little bit better now with Alexis Sanchez .

“They are a good team with a very good addition.

“Each manager has his own tactics and his own team depending on the opponents.

“We are not a defensive team, we are a team that has to defend.

“We will try to do our best to win against Man Utd.

“We have the same problems as the other teams in the bottom half. You have so many good teams at the top. One bad result can change everything.

“We have to stay calm and be stronger with the new additions.

“I think our idea is to win any game, it doesn’t matter if it’s home or away.

“One thing you can’t question is this team’s effort. We need to improve our finishing and grow our experience.”



  • ghostrider

    He talks nonsense.

    • len robson

      What has he said wrong and who would you have in place of Rafa!

      • ghostrider

        saying we aren’t a defensive team and we HAVE to defend.
        What a load of plop.
        I’d have loads of managers in place of Rafa. The man’s a passion killer.

        • Dan Robson

          That’s because you’re a mackem on a Newcastle fan page you whoppa

          • ghostrider

            Oh dear you don’t seem to have much going for you, do you? lol

          • Dan Robson

            Get back to Pennywell lad, you’re boring everyone

          • Ram Kishore

            You are ok but sometimes u pi.. ss me off

          • Jezza

            That is precisely the one and only reason he posts on this site. Don’t feed the troll.

          • ghostrider

            We’re not always going to get along when opinions differ.
            My opinions will change when I see change.
            My opinions will not change by peer pressure .

          • KRS1

            You are a bell end!

          • Jezza

            That comparison is a bit unfair…..to bell ends.

          • KRS1

            You are right, he demands a status way above bell end level!

          • Blackburn1066

            He’s a tit

          • ghostrider

            Ding dong.

          • Jezza

            He’s not a Mackem surprisingly enough, he actually supports the team we are playing this weekend. He is a season ticket holder at Old Trafford and also works in a S****s D****t shop. He has been trolling this site under multiple ID’s for years.

      • Pelican

        Benitez does play defensive football though, and has done since I can ever remember. Real Madrid under Benitez were scoring far less goals, but also letting less goals in. Is Real Madrid a team that has to defend?

        • 1957

          I think Zidane (who at that stage hadn’t managed above B team level) proved they could do well by attacking after Benitez was sacked. I remember reading somewhere that the Madrid president said Benitez was the wrong manager to take charge of the players they had. The Spanish press speculated Cristiano and two other players issued a sack him or transfer us ultimatum, they were at odds with being played in withdrawn roles

        • Ram Kishore

          Go back to his Liverpool days.
          If that’s ancient go and see his Chelsea days and Napoli days. He played balanced football and his team’s scored good number of goals..
          U can’t just moaning about Real madrid.
          Did he play defensive in our Relegation season?.. if he had done that..how the heck would we be scoring 5 past Spurs
          Weren’t we the team that scored lot of goals in the championship ..
          Open your eyes..
          Team’s working hard now with a passionate bunch but with limited ability..I don’t blame em for that..We needed few better players to improve the whole team.. that could indeed improve Shelvey, Gayle and others..
          He’s more sensible in the interview today..
          Yeah we played very bad football between November and December..
          Didn’t we play better football before that

          • 1957

            In answer to the last sentence we got points but didn’t play better football in general.

          • Ram Kishore

            We played better football and Crystal palace and Burnley.
            Can’t say we didn’t attack

          • Pelican

            He played defensive at Chelsea too. Chelsea won the Europa League via a last minute corner turned in, courtesy of Ivanovic. Benfica outplayed the Benitez managed Chelsea.

          • Ram Kishore

            Go and see the number of goals clocked in by the team that season under Rafa..

        • Wor Lass

          They ARE a team that has to defend – better.

          • Pelican

            “Are a team” duh! A team under a banner or name equates to a collective.

          • Pelican

            Btw, learn the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash. Dummy.

          • Wor Lass

            Maybe you could give yourself an enAlt0150emAlt0151a and sluice out some of that schitte you`re full of.

      • Blackburn1066

        I’am with you on this one.

    • Sumit Sengupta

      He said some sensible things actually.

      • ghostrider

        He says a lot of things that appear sensible. Unfortunately what he says and what actually happens are two different things.

    • TC Toon Army

      not as much as you fella.

      • ghostrider

        Yeah well I’m not putting defensive teams out and pretending they’re not.

        • Ram Kishore

          You could solve that issue by asking Ashley to buy few top players to boost our forward line

          • ghostrider

            The forward line is fine if played to the strength of it.
            Let’s see what he’s got for it.
            He’s has next to no excuse for long enough but this time leaves him zero excuse.

          • Blackburn1066

            No it’s not it’s sh-t

          • ghostrider

            Aye, blame Rafa for that.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yeah they are fine..
            Inorder to.make them finer we need more better player to make the team play better

          • ghostrider

            I agree but I also know that this forward line had the potential to be coached much much better by adding the likes of Mitrovic to it and playing the likes of Mitrovic correctly.

            You get maximum from a striker if that striker is allowed to do his job and not the job of others as a first and foremost drill.
            Rafa takes the effectiveness from the players by having them graft graft graft. Most likely to ensure they all come up to scratch on their mileage readouts.

          • Ram Kishore

            I don’t see Gayle popping in goals with the chances he has got..So do Joselu..so inorder to improve them we need players who can better them

          • ghostrider

            Of course we need better players.. I know that but what I’m saying is, we can do better with what we’ve got and had.
            Gayle is not popping up with goals because he’s a confidence player and Rafa knows this.
            To take a scene from top gun (I like doing this lol)…when Jester said to Viper after Goose was killed ejecting and Maverick lost his edge, he said ” He (Maverick) may not make it back” and Jester said ” keep sending him up”…
            Basically speaking, Keep putting Gayle into positions of scoring and his confidence will take a hit for the positive if he scores a few…but, you have to keep putting him in .
            The key is to keep putting him in if you’re after goals.

            If it doesn’t work after you’ve provided the ammunition for him, then you change it up.
            What you don’t do is put a striker in there ahead of them all (Joselu) and not take that striker out after giving him enough chances to know he’s not going to cut it in your set up.

            The squad appear to be getting coached as a cautious unit with the emphasis on defensive overall with a counter attacking mindset for the first half of games then holding on to what they have for the near entirety of the rest of the game.

          • Big geordie

            If you know we need better players ask your mate? employer mike to supply some.

          • ghostrider

            I’ve no doubt he will, in the summer.
            He’s done it for long enough so why would that change?
            Or are you wanting panic January buys on long contracts for pathetic transfer fees?

          • Blackburn1066

            Good point!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Spanglish

    • Ram Kishore

      Wow what a findung

  • S.G.M.

    Cant see Salami playing. Perez up-front on his own.

    • Blackburn1066

      It’s three points in the bag then ?

  • Mitros gotta start

    What he should have said was “we are not a defensive team, i am just a defensive manager”
    Mind you rafa has been known to talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

    • Leazes.

      Do you know Mitro has gone to Fulham?

      • Mitros gotta start

        Nope…..news travels slowly here in canada

  • John

    We aren’t defensive. Having 11 men behind the ball is really taking the game to other teams. We made 7 passes in the first 10 minutes of our home game against city. A whole 7!! Attack minded coach

  • 1957

    So we’re going to park the bus for 60minutes or so, hope they don’t score and try to sneak a goal after that.

    Another exercise in keeping the goal difference down…thank heaven, I’m travelling on Sunday afternoon and will miss the latest Benitez surrender. The players must feel really confident being told they are so poor every week.

  • GToon

    0-4 I reckon. And three for Sanchez.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Shouldn’t be playing,needs extraditing to Spain for tax evasion…

      • Paul Patterson

        If it were you or me, we’d be in the clink, not out earning £300k+ and having the opportunity to pay the evasion back in three weeks.

        • Geordiegiants

          I’m in the middle of it myself now. It’s the most horrible feeling, it’s been going on since October. They tell you nothing and treat you like a criminal. Google, Amazon, Costa, etc, sorry Leazes I’ll not forget Betvictor, all get away with robbery.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Just watched a piece on my local news about Jeff Horsfield ex Brum & WBA.Since retiring he set up the Jeff Horsfield foundation to care for the homeless around Birmingham and also bought a row of terraced houses to home people who’ve been down on their luck,he’s fully involved with the rehoming process and takes on a lot of the building work himself on his properties…..not all ex pros are like Merson,Carragher,Jenas etc etc….well done Jeff.

    • Blackburn1066

      Nice one

    • thewildchimp

      Yes, Dunga, the ex-Brazilian captain and manager, has built half of his home village. Many others as well. Even Cristiano Ronaldo donates a lot to charity. Conceited yes, but footballers are rarely penny-pinchers.

  • Tino o

    These defensive teams usually setup 2or3 clear chances 1st half which Joselu and Gayle have been passing by. Hopefully slimani knows what to do with them

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    We are not defensive till we score a goal then we sit back need to attack not defend.