Rafa Benitez says that 40 points is still the target for Newcastle United.

Despite the likes of Southampton and Stoke dropping like a stone and seemingly ensuring a lower points total will be needed, the United boss sees that as the very minimum of Newcastle ambtions in these remaining games.

The quicker Newcastle reach safety, then the better for NUFC not just for this season, but also the next one.

Rafa explaining that the sooner he knows then he can start proper planning with his team and admitted that earlier on Friday he had even discussed pre-season training with ‘some of the players’.

Benitez believes that the win over Manchester United was a big turning point in the season, not only for the three points, but the fact it also gave both players and fans a lot more confidence that Newcastle could reach safety.

With Slimani unable to play against his employers, the forward options are limited.

Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez have been the regular starters and that seems sure to continue against Leicester.

Rafa Benitez says his squad is pretty much injury free now, with Joselu recovering from an ankle injury, but he made the point that the former Stoke player is ‘nearly fully fit’.

A big hint that surely it will be a place on the bench at best for the big forward.

The manager also indicated that Mohamed Diame came off against Huddersfield simply as a precaution.

Rafa Benitez pre-Leicester press conference:

“What Leicester achieved in winning the Premier League (in 2015/16) was massive.

“They were well organised and Ranieri did a great job.

“Now they are so dangerous and on a good run.

“You have more time to manage [the earlier you reach Premier League safety] and to think about the future.

“You can then start working with the players because they need to know their future as well.

“Today I was talking to some of the players about when we start pre-season.

[On Martin Dubravka]

“He’s a keeper with experience and someone who is a talker, giving instructions to defenders.

“Apart from the saves, he’s aware of things going on around the box and that’s crucial for a defender.

“We need to keep on winning and the target still is 40 points. Forty is the number.

Manchester United was a massive game [and turning point] and gave us a lot more confidence…gave fans and the players gave us a massive lift.”

“We don’t have any (injury) problems.

“Slimani obviously can’t play, Joselu has recovered so he’s nearly fully fit, so more or less everyone is available.”

Leicester v Newcastle Match Betting:

Leicester win 20/21Draw 5/2Newcastle win 33/10

Perez scores first goal 21/2NUFC win 2-1 8/1NUFC to win to nil 13/2

All Leicester v Newcastle match betting HERE

New customers to BetVictor qualify for up to a £40 welcome bonus in free bets.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Talking pre-season,
    he `s obviously had assures off the owner about this summers budget

    • Leazes.

      That’s why he’s talking to the same players…. he’s staying for the money then….The Keegan effect without the players but with the press in tow!

      Ashley has Rafa…Rafa has the Press…. and the press have the gullible fans…..

      ,,,,We won’t get fooled again….surely….oh too late!

      • Rich Lawson

        Doh !

      • Wor Monga

        with over 50,000 gullible fans every at home game…it’s a good job the club’s got you then to balance things up a bit!!!

      • Ram Kishore

        It’s feels like nowadays u have started disliking Rafa very much

    • Rich Lawson

      It.s still nowt !

  • TheFatController

    Given Rafa has no certainty on who will be owner, who will make him an offer elsewhere, how much he’ll have to spend irrespective of owner, of course he’s going to talk like he’s going to be here for pre-season.

    Is it guaranteed he’ll be here ? No. Is it guaranteed he’ll leave? No. Is it guaranteed Ashley will be here ? No.

    There are no guarantees, so until we hear something different, we should, like he is doing, assume he’ll be here.

  • mentalman

    once we reach safety i’d like to see some of the fringe players come in