Rafa Benitez press conference: Islam Slimani passed fit but good news and bad news on 2 other players
Rafa Bentez has met the press on Friday lunchtime.
The Newcastle boss speaking ahead of the Huddersfield match on Saturday.
Rafa is looking to make it three home wins in a row at home, after seeing his team impress against Man Utd and Southampton.
A third victory would put Newcastle in a great position with seven games remaining.
It would guarantee a four point lead on Huddersfield (who would only have six games left), plus a gap of up to seven points to the drop zone.
Islam Slimani passed fit but surely only on the bench, whilst Matt Ritchie has shaken off a groin problem.
Rafa says one fresh injury – Joselu twisting his ankle and maybe for Leicester next weekend, which would be handy as Slimani can’t be involved in that game.
Rafa Benitez Huddersfield press conference:
“It is good (to be back with a competitive game).
“We couldn’t play an official game, we had to go to Spain to play a good game.
“It is too long (without a Premier League match), we were doing well.”
“We were training a lot (in Spain and the UK), he game against Royal Antwerp was a special game because it was three periods of 45 minutes.
“It (the trip) was good for the relationships between the players.
“The mood is positive and today we were working tactically, as well as eminding the players that they must approach the game with the right mentality.
“It’s a massive game for everyone.
“Matt Ritchie had a little problem (this week with his groin), he had a test and is fine.
“The only player with a problem – Joselu twisting his ankle. He will be out maybe a week.
“We had a plan (with Slimani) and he had to progress. He was following the plan and we were talking with the Algerian federation.
“The idea that he could play some minutes in the second game (for Algeria) was good. He is in the squad tomorrow.
“Just signing Islam Slimani added competition to the strikers.
“To have another player, another face, another characteristic in your attack – you can be stronger.”
Asked about Kenedy who this morning was quoted in Brazilian media saying he would be interested in a permanent move:
“There are a lot of good players doing well here.
“We have to wait.
“If the player is happy, that’s good news for us but it also depends on the other team (Chelsea).
“If he replicates his performances tomorrow, I will be pleased.
“We have to give the fans something to cheer about. High tempo, score an early goal. It becomes easier and better for everyone in the stadium.”
“Huddersfield are aggressive, they press. They can also wait for the right time.
“They have a mentality of going for games if they can and it will be interesting to see how we manage.
“We know what we have to do. That has been the key.
“Communication, the relationship between players and fans, that is the way. Team spirit is crucial for us.
“Players know that, fans know that and hopefully you (the media) know that.
“If we win, it will be a big step.
“I say 40 points is the figure, but it may be less.
“We have to play, we have to win and after that, we have to keep fighting.”
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