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.
“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.”