Rafa Benitez met the media on Tuesday afternoon.

The manager taking his press conference ahead of the trip to Everton.

Rafa confirmed that three players definitely wouldn’t make the trip, with Karl Darlow, Isaac Hayden and Paul Dummett missing out.

You would assume that in effect this is five in total, with long-term injured players Florian Lejeune and Jamie Sterry only having returned to full training in recent days. Ten adding in Matt Ritchie’s suspension, he makes it six.

Predictably, Rafa Benitez was asked about Mike Ashley’s appearance on Sky News last night.

Just as predictably he wouldn’t be drawn into the discussion.

The NUFC boss declaring ‘we have been here before…’ and insisting that it is just a case of ‘business as usual’ and keeping the team focused on the games.

Rafa Benitez:

“Dummett is still not ready. Hayden is unavailable, like Darlow.

“Paul (Dummett) is a great professional, he’s always doing well, but if he is not there we have to manage

“Every game for us is a final, every game is quite difficult… It will be a tough game, like always in the Premier League.

“It’s just (about) keeping the confidence high, because we can do it.

“It’s always good to play another game (soon after a defeat), to put your heads down and have to react quickly.

“Ayoze Pérez is working so hard in every game and doing a great job for the team. We cannot forget that he was the top scorer last year.”

Takeover talk a distraction?

“Yes, we have been here before…

“I was talking today with Lee Charnley, the message is very clear and it is business as usual.

“An important game to play and we must concentrate.”

Rafa Benitez talking to BBC Newcastle:

“I was talking this morning with Lee Charnley and he told me that, for us, it changes nothing; it’s business as usual.

“We have to prepare for the transfer window in the same way – it doesn’t change our way to approach the targets.”

“We have had the same situation in the past (takeover speculation), so we have to carry on doing the same things.

“Our targets are the same, and if we have money – fine.

“If we don’t have money, still we have to try to our best.

“It doesn’t change too much our plans.”

  • Rich Lawson

    ”The message is very clear” Your getting nowt in January.

  • Kenny

    Dummett & Lascelles have been a big miss,
    as for the Rat it`s plain to see the manager doesn`t believe a word he say`s.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Rafa says we’ve been here before………..very diplomatically saying the takeover talk is a load of bollix…………just like on past occasions……

  • robbersdog

    I really like Paul Dummett; he’s one of those low-key, unsung heroes that you only appreciate when he’s injured.

  • Peaky

    Different topic but can you imagine the uproar and furore if it had been one of our supporters that had thrown a banana skin on the pitch like that Spurs ‘fan’ at the Emirates….we would have been destroyed by the media then 20 points deducted by the FA.

    • Kenny

      Abhorrent behaviour, they need to be banned for life

      • Peaky

        100% agree…

  • 45709

    Ideally Rafa will become more and more outspoken and make bigger digs, then when he’s free take cashley to court and win for impeding him and potentially affecting his future as a manager at other clubs

    • Vodkamagpie

      Was it 7 new additions to the squad, or 8?

      • 45709

        I’m not sure I’m reading that right, new players? This season 18/19 or 17/18. Sorry it’s probably obvious but I’m reading it and don’t get it in response to what i put.


        • Vodkamagpie

          Why would rafa take Ashley to court?

          • 45709

            Hi, so I meant: in an ideal world once Rafa leaves, he’ll decide his reputation has been affected, also with the practices happening at nufc he’ll sue him. Like Kevin Keegan did.

            I also assume because Rafa isn’t English and a gentleman he’s honouring his contract. (No disrespect to keegan)

            Does that make sense? I want his (ma) downfall? More court and negative media the better

          • Vodkamagpie

            Don’t see how he can sue him. Newcastle paid around 230mil in incoming transfers last 4/5 years

          • LA toon

            103.62m investment, (buying minus selling), over 5 years= 20.72m a year. Rafa should have left in August then pursue constructive dismissal.

          • Vodkamagpie

            Compare that amount (if correct) to some other mid table teams.

          • GToon

            Do you think Ashley has backed Rafa ?

          • Vodkamagpie

            Yes. Every club owner has the right to choose what investment is made in player recruitment.

          • mentalman

            I dont think he’ll have much chance in court after seeing out his contract.

          • nufcslf

            I wish somebody would take the fat c**t to the cleaners and wipe the stupid grin of the pryks face. Laughable that you defend him. Talk about being oblivious to the club being run out of existence because of the actions of one piece of sh*t.

  • Lewis SG

    Business as usual. That means he has no money for January transfers.

  • nufcslf

    Just fills you with optimism doesn’t it. Another away defeat on the horizon with nothing but a full house for yet another home loss on Sunday against Wolves. Why Rafa stays is mystery to me.