Rafa Benitez was in good spirits when addressing the media on Friday afternoon.
The Newcastle boss insisting that the next game is the only important one when asked about the tough start which means playing four of last season’s top six in the opening five matches.
Rafa has confirmed that DeAndre Yedlin won’t be risked at Cardiff.
Whilst the Newcastle boss wouldn’t be drawn on who will play up front, simply indicating that when your striker (Joselu) scores a goal against Spurs and then his sub replacement (Rondon) hits the bar, it is a good situation to have up front.
What the manager was sure about though, is confirming that there is nothing in the daft newspaper speculation suggesting Hayden and Clark could be loaned out. Rafa Benitez making clear his squad is in no position to lose anybody who could be of use this season.
He was also careful yet again not to get involved in the chronic lack of transfer funds debate, instead saying it is a positive having players who have last season in the Premier League behind them, whilst it remains to be seen how big money buys at other clubs work out. What Rafa actually thinks about being prevented bringing in significant signings is something surely very different…
The Newcastle boss also appeared to indicate that he is more likely to give chances earlier to the likes of Ki, Rondon and Fernandez who have already played in the PL, as opposed to Schar and Muto who may have to wait a little longer to adapt.
Rafa Benitez press conference ahead of Cardiff match:
“Before you start I would just like to say congratulations to Cardiff and Neil Warnock on promotion last season.
(Asked who will be playing up front against Cardiff) “It’s quite difficult.
“When a striker is scoring a goal, the other one’s coming on and pushing.
“Normally, what I do is wait and make the decision at the end, so nobody knows, everybody on their toes and it’s good for the team.
“It is too soon for Yedlin. He will stay here, he will be working and he will need time to get back to his level.
“The new signings were training well, and we will see (if they will play) tomorrow. I am happy with them.
“The new signings have settled in well but some of them who don’t know the Premier League such as Schar and Muto might need a bit of time (to get fully up to speed) but Rondon, Ki and Fernandez already know it well.
“Everybody is spending big money on players and will they all work out? We will see.
“For some of our players it might be easier as they have been in the Premier League for a year but now other squads are stronger.
“Is our starting eleven better than before? I hope so but we’ll see…
“I know how much we can improve, so we are working and trying to do that.
I’ve said before that the squad for us is stronger (than last season). We had some gaps to fill and we brought some players in.
“Cardiff are very strong physically and they will try to create a good atmosphere.
“We created so many chances during the second half (against Spurs) and we need to do the same at Cardiff for the full 90 minutes if we can.
(Asked about playing four of last season’s top six in first five matches) “Every game will be difficult and we will approach them all trying to get the same. Cardiff is next so it is the most important one. That is it.
“Some (younger) players may (still) go on loan but not the senior players (such as Hayden and Clark who have been subject of speculation), no chance for them.”