Rafa Benitez has indicate he is unlikely to make many changes to his team on Wednesday.

The manager confirmed that as well as Christian Atsu, Ciaran Clark was also still unavailable, two players who would have been strong possibilities to freshen things up.

However, as it stands, very difficult to see many/any obvious options.

Manquillo and Murphy were poor at Watford, whilst on the bench were Haidara, Hayden and Joselu, none of whom have done anything to suggest they can step up.

Mikel Merino is maybe the only one but he hasn’t been available recently and only got four minutes at Watford, so doubtful whether he is capable of starting.

Rafa started the press conference by wishing Sir Alex Ferguson well, before he moved on to talk about the club and team.

Yet again asked about progress on his future, yet again answering that nothing had changed.

However, he added, and you can take this any way you want, that ‘we do have plenty of time this week to talk.’

Whether that is a none too subtle idea of a deadline or not, remains to be seen. With a month now gone since Newcastle reached safety, we all know that this is simply all about Mike Ashley changing  his stance and giving the manager more backing.

Rafa will be away in London the middle of this week and all he needs to hear is that the owner is willing to work with him, rather than the constant friction of these past 18 months or so.

Two tough games against Tottenham and Chelsea this week, no doubt Rafa will be happy with simply better performances, even if they end up adding no more points to the total.

Rafa Benitez pre- Tottenham press conference:

“I would like to start by wishing a speedy recovery to Sir Alex Ferguson.

“I just want to wish him all the best.”

Asked what the situation is with his contract talks…:

“In terms of conversations with the club, still the same.

“We have no news.

“I am not thinking of a time frame…but we do have plenty of time this week to talk.”

Playing Tottenham:

“So happy to be safe [already], we have nothing to lose and so we need to play with the same freedom and intensity we did in the games before this [losing] run.

“We knew when Tottenham was playing in the cup, it could be a bad date for us.

“We knew Tottenham and Chelsea could be fighting for something and the reality is, they are.”

Loan players:

“It’s no secret we are happy with Martin Dubravka.

“We have the option [to buy], so it is an easy one.

Kenedy has done really well for us. We will talk to Chelsea about his future.”

Premier League Manager of the season nomination:

“It’s important for anyone if someone from outside can see the good job you have done.

“We have great staff who have done a lot to help.”

Tottenham v Newcastle v Match Betting:

Spurs win 1/6Draw 7/1Newcastle win 18/1

Perez to score the first goal 15/1NUFC to win 1-0 50/1Moussa Sissoko to be man of the match 13/1

All Tottenham v Newcastle betting HERE

  • Alex

    If Rafa is not giving us the same “no progress” report in a couple of weeks, it’s because, by then, he’ll have fekked off.

  • ghostrider

    I don’t think there’s any need at all to be discussing transfers and contract negotiating with 2 games still to go.

    At the end of the season everything can be talked over and only then will any of us really know what’s what.

    • Mike

      rubbish I WANT you to tell all the guys here who YOU want as manager when he leaves? Raffa is a winner the last winner was SBR

      • FatParosite

        For Allah sake block ghostrider

        • porciestreet

          You block him…I did. It’s so easy.

      • ghostrider

        If Rafa leaves I’d just wait and see who the next manager is and see how he does like I’ve always done.
        Just because people have a love in with Rafa does not mean I have to.
        I think his football is garbage overall and it’s not the excuse of championship players, either.
        It only shaped up when Kenedy arrived.

      • Jezza

        Don’t feed the troll, marra. Last autumn he was demanding Rafa be replaced by Pardew, then when the Silver Pox flopped at West Brom he changed his tune and said we should appoint Bilic or Koeman.

        • Lakeland Mag

          And he said (more than once) that he’d happily see Newcastle, the team he supposedly (NOT) supports, relegated again if it meant getting rid of Benitez, Unfortunately it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that both will happen next season after Ashley plays his usual games this summer. Ghostrider will be partying under his bridge then.

          • Jezza

            The only thing is it won’t happen in that order. Fatso will get rid of Rafa and then we’ll get relegated as a result.

        • porciestreet

          It’s all about who has the ba!!5 to put up with Nikey Mikey.
          That will be a major factor in the calibre of person we get applying for the job.
          The whole world knows by now that Cashley is a complete r!ngpiece so beware …the future is not bright.

          • Jezza

            Yes the only candidates for the Newcastle job will be managers that other clubs won’t touch.

  • Leazes.

    Ashley gone on his holidays then? Then theres the world cup…. prepare for lots of inactivity and headlines from the chronicle apologists like…..

    ….Rafa Benitez refuses to put a deadline on talks over his Newcastle United future.

    ….and ‘Rafa in for £3.6 Million pound Ace’….

    • Jezza

      …and later on after Mitrovic has been sold for £20 million and Pardew has promised that every penny will be spent on a replacement:

      “United won’t be held to ransom in striker search”

      • porciestreet

        Does anyone seriously believe that p45due would have the gumsion to show up again. He’d be laughed out of town.

        • Jezza

          I’m not sure to be truthfull but Pardew will be well aware that no other club in the Premiership or maybe even the Championship would touch him with a bargepole and he also knows from previous experience of working for Ashley at NUFC that he would be unsackable in this job.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Rafa has a plan, he has said he knows who he wants and won’t be drawn into the world cup buying frenzy.
    So now it seems from comments that he just needs it rubber stamped by the club. I know there are still two games left but the window opens early and any sensible businessman would have their plan in place this close to the window.

    • Paul Patterson

      Like I’ve said elsewhere, I’m amazed that Dubravka hasn’t been signed up yet.

      • Jezza

        Dubravka will be signed up in the first week of the window as a ploy to take the pressure off the Ashley regime and sell season tickets. It will be our biggest signing of the summer window.

    • Jezza

      I’m sure Ashley has got a plan in place for the summer window. A plan to flog Lascelles and Mitrovic to the highest bidders.

      • porciestreet

        Oh don’t go there…!

    • porciestreet

      That’s fine, but if Cashley won’t release the funding. ……!
      The best laid plans of mice and men. Or summat like that.
      We’re still better off than the $hyte.

  • Mike

    bye bye thanks for everything. “we tried but Rafa decided to move to leave for a bigger deal” however we are delighted to welcome back Pard who loves the club and supporters and remember we finished 5th in the prem under him im sure we can do the same. oh and thanks for all the 40k supporters who renewed their season tickets…….MUGS!!!!!

    • Billmag

      You forgot to mention Mike when Pards has a bad day he goes home and Polish’s his manager of the year award, only thing is it’s nearly worn away.

      • FatParosite

        That and his ego…. oh and his peni……..

  • Scott Robinson

    Rafa’s looking a bit peaky; who would begrudge him another move to a decent foreign club rather than another fight to stay up, here. We need 100 million to fund 5 or 6 transfers so we can compete for 7th place above the mighty Burnley.

    If there was a premiership 2 which included us and the bottom 10 it makes pretty bleak reading as there isn’t one exciting game amongst that lot. That sums up how poor the Premiership actually is from us down to Stoke (and Everton and Leicester this season). Therefore we won’t get a better chance to compete for 7th place with that basic investment than this next season!

  • Desree

    Rafa is presenting himself to other Chairs.

    This interview reads, I am a top manager who is easy to work with and will get you results if you back me.

    In his head he is already resigned to leaving. I think he saw it as his duty to get us safe. Now he has, maybe the players know he is going.

    It could explain the lack of intensity in performance. When you are going well it usually takes a major set back to knock you off course.

    If Rafa already had planned transfer targets, I am sure he has his own options on the table.

    • Paul Patterson

      I hope your wrong on the former . .

      • porciestreet

        Sadly, I think he’s right…keeping his powder dry so they say,, and his options wide open.
        I suspect that he’s been prepared for just such a scenario for quite some time and is altogether aware of any and all consequences.
        And who could blame the man…he’s found out that his spiritual home is run like the “Cuckoos Nest” and sadly, we all know how this ends.