On Friday afternoon, Rafa Benitez has taken his latest press conference.

The Newcastle boss talking ahead of a sold out game at St James Park, with the Magpies taking on Southampton.

With it being fifth bottom against fourth bottom and the clubs only one and two points respectively above the drop zone, it is as big as any match Newcastle have faced so far this season.

Rafa Benitez revealed that Huddersfield was the oped for target for Islam Slimani to make his very belated debut, the three week gap after Southampton hopefully giving him the chance to be fully fit two months after arriving on loan.

As for Jonjo Shelvey, he has trained this week but Rafa says he will wait until tomorrow before deciding whether he can be included in his matchday squad for Southampton.

Rumours of an away trip ‘to the sun’ have been confirmed as true now.

The United boss saying he is taking the squad to Spain for four days, with one of the main aims to ‘make sure we have a competitive game’ whilst there.

Rafa Benitez also made clear ‘No parties, Just to train.’

Rafa Benitez:

“Every game is important for us.

“This (against Southampton) is the most important because it’s the next one.

“Every game is a final now.

“I think 40 points will be enough.

“I’m not keen to go to Spain to enjoy the sun, I have been there all my life…but we will go for four days to Spain. Not too long.

“No parties. Just to train, to make sure we have a competitive game, then come back.

“I’m disappointed, I would like to be higher (in the table).

“We have a good team with a lack of experience. We deserved to win some games if we’d managed them differently in the last 10-15 minutes.

“When you play against a top side, the difference is massive. Everything has to be perfect.

“Against other teams, you can make mistakes and still win.”

Rafa on releasing some Under-23 players:

“You have to take responsibility, do what you have to do. In football, with lads, with young people, it’s always difficult.

“You cannot wait to make decisions, you have to do it – whether a player will be good enough to make the first team.

“You have good relationships with players so the bad thing is to say to them that they have to go.

“My message is always clear – fans being fantastic for the team. For the players, just be sure that we give the fans something to support. If you take your chances, everything is different.”

Rafa on Mauricio Pellegrino:

“We have a good relationship. He knows me really well, I know him really well. It will be difficult to do something that the other one is not expecting.”

  • TheNutJob

    a Greggs sausage roll is a feast to a pauper

  • TheNutJob

    should take the boys for a week relax in the sun & take in a few shows
    💃 💃 💃 💃

    • TheNutJob

      is wor lass aboot i`ve got wor kids bet for tomorrow

      • Wor Lass

        Don`t say it – you know what happens! I`m keeping Schtum.

        • TheNutJob

          don`t worry, he jinx`s the lads when he posts the score

  • mactoon

    “No parties. Just to train”. Isn’t that what Pardew said?

    Let’s hope our lot respect Rafa’s wishes. The last thing we need is disruption amongst the squad. They are after all just young lads, let’s hope they show some maturity. Personally I wouldn’t have taken the risk of taking them abroad.

    • Wor Lass

      Young lads don`t have to be abroad to misbehave – ask Joey barton. Mind, he was in Liverpool!

      • TheNutJob

        ask Aarons, he created havoc doon the Quayside

      • Rich Lawson

        Wasn’t it early morning in McDonalds,been funny if all the kitchen staff had come out and ”battered” him ?

    • pedrodelgardo

      They’ll have to deal with Jamaal and his take on a nasty little jab

  • Rich Lawson

    Pay the overtime and keep a man on the taxi rank outside the hotel all night.

  • Wor Lass

    Instead of all the articles gloating about Sunderland`s plight maybe someone could do something about the disgraceful situation with Slimani. After months of dithering over other “high-priced” targets who we all knew wouldn`t be coming we sign a crock – on loan and pay for play, I believe. When he arrives we`re told he could make it for the Palace game then it`s, “Oh, he`s nearly there, maybe another week blah, blah, blah”. Well, it`s been about 5 weeks now and we`re being told he might be in contention in another 3! It was either Paul Patterson or Jezza who said that it was an Ashley scam and he wouldn`t play – therefore wouldn`t cost him a penny. I thought it was a bit of a wild conspiracy theory at the time but it`s beginning to look like inspired analysis.

    • TheNutJob

      i think Jezza & Paul are right, it`s looking grim because he can`t possibly be match fit after such a long lay off

      • Jezza

        He will never play for Newcastle.

    • Rich Lawson

      Yet surely from the above he looks a shoe in to lead us to glory against the might of Huddersfield ?

    • I think he’s fit but has a clause of “if he plays x number of games you automatically buy him” and Ashley can’t take that if we get relegated, so Rafa can only like play him for 5 games or so and if we stay up he decides to take him on or not, but if he plays more we will be obliged to buy.

      • Wor Lass

        Shades of Jonas!

      • Mitros gotta start

        If that was true then surely the southampton game would be one of the 5 games you would play him in though

    • mactoon

      Even if he is fit after the break I doubt Rafa would start with him He will start on the bench so play less than the 7 games predicted. What a mess

    • molend

      I’ve never been a fan of messing about with people’s names (though ‘joke in ‘ere’ was pretty obvious) but I wonder whether the lad should be could ‘Slymoney’. I mean, the whole situation with him doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

      • Wor Lass

        The only person taking any sly money will be the fat Southern porker – if I`m right, Leicester only get paid if he plays.

    • Jezza

      Yes it was my “inspired analysis” thanks. Just when you think Fatso couldn’t be any more devious he found a way of signing a striker to placate the fans without spending a single penny of the profits.

  • Mrkgw

    Surely someone asked him whether or not he regrets farming out Mitrovic. Or, was this line of questionning intended to save face and based upon themes that Rafa can, and will answer?

    • TheNutJob

      don`t be silly, they never ask the difficult questions

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Anybody got a signed copy of Inside the Rafalution

  • kingfisher

    Wonder if “Sticky Vicky” still does a turn ? Surely she would relieve the pressure a bit ?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Retired a while back, i just do non activity holidays

      • kingfisher

        Cheers Moose 👍

    • Fireman Sam

      She could take a better penalty than Joselu

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Newcastle ? Southampton 1
    Viva Hoss
    🐎 🐎

    • Leazes.

      Own goal?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Hope the friendly on the Saturday night or Sunday afternoon then might be able to make it otherwise not going. However was great when we beat them five nil despite the reception we got when we came out the match a great night that was.