Rafa Benitez has met the media ahead of the Watford match.

The pressure really on as United face an in-form seventh placed team.

Rafa confirmed Ciaran Clark had suffered from an illness and wasn’t ready to return yet, this means he joins Jamie Sterry and Florian Lejeune on the sidelines.

The manager once again talking about the importance of getting a first win of the season and everything flowing from that, if they don’t beat Watford, the manager says just a case of carrying on.

The questions on Jamaal Lascelles comments were predictable and Rafa Benitez suggested that maybe the NUFC captain had been a little bit naive in his answers, giving the media a field day. Rafa insisting that Lascelles was only commenting on meeting somebody for the first time at a meal, not commenting on these last 11 years of Mike Ashley owning the club.

Rafa Benitez:

“Against Brighton, we had 27 shots, 41 crosses and ten corners, but we did not score and we lost.

“It’s something you have to analyse carefully.

“In the final third, our decision-making has to be better – that’s something we know and will try to improve.

“We have the belief, and we are convinced that if we win the first one, everything will be different – it will be another mood, with more confidence.

“I was reading that this is their (Watford’s) best start in 35 years. That is good news for them. Javi Gracia is a good coach.

“They have confidence – and it is always more difficult when a team has confidence – but we will do our best.

‘We have to be positive. The teams in the bottom 3 at this stage last season weren’t there at the end of the season.

“I was not happy with the performance (at Southampton) but I was happy with the point, we are very close to getting that first win.

“If we win our first game then everything will be different.

“Is it a must win?

“I am confident we can do it this week but if we don’t…what can we do?

“We will keep on going.”

Rafa Benitez on players available:

“Clark is fine (after being ill). He was not in the squad (at Southampton) but has trained for the last two days (but still isn’t ready to return).

“Lejeune has done some warm ups with the team, so is getting better.

“Everybody is available for Watford apart from Lejeune and Sterry (and Clark).”

Rafa on Jamaal Lascelles one year contract extension:

“I think it’s just a signal of his commitment.

“He will try to do his best for the club.

“It’s a message that he’s happy here, in the way things are going in terms of his development. That’s positive.”

Rafa Benitez on Jamaal Lascelles comments:

“He was trying to be positive and send the right message.

“He met a person at dinner for a couple of hours and he was not giving an opinion about the last 11 years.

“He is young and it was his first impression.”

Rafa Benitez on the poor results:

“It’s a question of a little bit of luck, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of everything.”

Rafa Benitez on the fans/atmosphere:

“We are really lucky to have the fans – home and away, they are really good with the team.

“I understand they sometimes don’t agree with the decisions I make, but in the end, our team is our team, the manager is the manager, and we have to stick together.

“It has to be positive on Saturday and they (the players) need help from me and the stands.

“After the game we can analyse but the atmosphere has to be positive.”

  • Reason

    Still can’t get over the reaction yesterday by our so called ‘fans’. The lad gave a direct answer to a question and just wants the club to do well on the pitch, he was never going to call out Ashley however much you lot wanted him too.

    Protest all you want against the owner but the minute you stop backing the players you might as well not bother.

    Saying that quite a few of you lot gave it up a few years ago, I’m sure many will agree with me when I say you are not missed.

    • Ashley-out

      it works both ways when you get a player coming out and saying the owner is a good guy when every man & his dog knows he is scum then you must question their agenda, in conclusion you are an idiot

    • Toon Arnie

      He didn’t have to call him, he also didn’t have to say he was a nice guy either. He can’t be so thick as to not know this would annoy all but the Ashley apologists surely ?

    • wheyayeman

      ‘Giving up’ as you term it is a totally inappropriate description of fans who chose not to give any more to the current owners. In fact it is a logical and completely understandable response to the broad daylight, systematic and deliberate destruction of our club by a man who has ruined the club we once passionately supported. We are still here and we will be back, but absolutely not until he’s gone.

      • Martin Rooney

        His underpaid employees that you and I are interested in are the 8th highest paid squad in the premier league how does that work out

        • Big Hairy Man

          He was referring to the underpaid, exploited workforce at the Shirebrook labour camp.

          • Rich Lawson

            Love to know what they have planned for the Xmas Party ?

    • magpiefifer

      Who says people like me (not renewing my season until Ashley disappears) are ‘giving it up’!!I’ve been a supporter for 64 years,and will always be a supporter,but I will not give our current odious owner one more penny!!
      As for Lascelles ‘calling out’ Ashley – most of us are intelligent enough to know that won’t happen,but after a previous dispute with the owner over bonuses can you explain why he is describing the owner as a nice guy!?

      • Martin Rooney

        There’s no space for you when he does

        • magpiefifer

          I’ll be there – if I’m not dead!!!!

    • East Durham Mag

      Shut up and fakorf troll

    • Realist

      Well said totally agree.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Can you open a proper account so I can block you ? Not a difficult question is it?

        • Wezza

          Ditto, same troll posting under guest accounts most likely coming from either the monkseaton or Moscow area.

        • DeadToiler

          What’s the point of blocking people? This is supposed to be a forum for debating. Why would you only want to read comments that you agree with?

          • Cockneytrev

            These people don’t have anything valid to say, it’s all pro Ashley, anti Keegan, Shearer etc
            They are not NUFC fans and are only here as employees of Ashley/Bishop or supporters of other clubs trying to get a rise out of Newcastle fans, it took me a while to realise and I tried a debate with one or two of them,, all you have to do is go back to their previous posts to see what they are, it’s all negative Newcastle positive anything Ashley,,

          • DeadToiler

            I hate the man with a passion, like I hate the vast majority of capatalists / entrepreneurs. I still listen to others point of views though even if I disagree with them. You might get the odd one who is on the payroll or just out to make mischief but I think it’s often just difference of opinion. It’s important to be united.

      • Superdooperhooper

        A troll agrees with a troll What a surprise

    • Martin Rooney

      I honestly thought these old f++++RS had died or gone to jail for being D**ks

    • Superdooperhooper

      Reason realist whatever can you do me a favour ? Open a proper account not post as a guest ? That way I can block you and not have to read your inane ramblings. Cheers mate

    • Kneebotherm8

      He did not call out Ashley…….he just backed him up 100% on the back of a massive pay increase……he’s as nice a guy as Attila the hun whatever our young and stupid captain says…..enjoy your pay rise from Mr nice guy though…..

  • Leazes.

    I ‘m positive….. that this is the worst 11 years in the clubs entire history.

    • Yes, and if you were the manager/owner or whatever you will probably call it a day. Something like “OK lads, worst start in history, no chance of staying up as stats show. Don’t try too hard out there, try to sort a move, tell the fans to not come to games as we won’t play like we are paid to play”. Pathetic.

      • Kenny

        His post is a factual statement, no more, no less & if we don`t protest and boycott a match Fatso will be in place for another decade.

    • Rich Lawson

      There’ll be a war soon !

  • Steven05

    I’ll never turn my back on my club – and I won’t support what it has become

    Einstein: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

  • Mrkgw

    In terms of Jamaal Lascelles – to the more vocal critics, give the lad a break. The disproportionate reaction of some makes us appear worse than our mackem neighbours. We seem hell bent on self imploding and at this rate, disaster (of which relegation is included) is a cert. Which sane buyer will surface while the club is in meltdown? Vent against Ashley – absolutely, but don’t stoop to gutter level in the process. This is all getting out of hand.

    • Phildene

      There ain’t any buyers sane or otherwise-end of!

  • 45709

    I feel really sorry for Rafa, I really do. I think he’s genuine just a shame about the owner

    Starting to think the cockney fat one had a bad experience with a Geordie and decided he’ll destroy NUFC to show them, cause NUFC with the fans and loyalty is a money machine. He’s spiteful and nasty, but he’s only got £2.5 billion so must be hard for him…. what a p***k.

    I’d prefer a owner that loves the team but we’re still doing terrible rather than this sack. Only consolation is I’ll outlive him

  • toonterrier

    There’s a good chance we’ll get three points but only if the team bus driver gets caught speeding.

  • London_Mag

    He always talks sense!
    He’s perfect at calming things down.
    He will make us better!
    We would be fooked without him.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Totally fckd without him…..

  • Wezza

    I predict we lose again, more heat on Rafa, Douglas and Ryder will lead the Rafa out brigade.

  • Rich Lawson

    Brilliant comment on Lascelles situation,Rafa’ straight into the Diplomatic Corps from here then ?