Rafa Benitez Watford press conference – Confirms Shelvey back and only two injured with one player now up for sale in January
Rafa Benitez has met the media on Friday lunchtime.
The United boss speaking to reporters ahead of Watford on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez confirmed that both Ciaran Clark and Karl Darlow are still out injured.
However, the manager stated that ‘The rest are available, including Jonjo Shelvey’, which is a big boost with Ki Sung-yeung now away until probably February.
It also appears to open up the possibility of Florian Lejeune making the matchday 18 for the first time this season.
Rafa Benitez also stated that Rob Elliot would be allowed to leave in January if he finds another club.
With Longstaff still to make a first Premier League start and Hayden & Diame both lacking creativity, Newcastle need Shelvey back on form.
There were claims earlier today that Rafa was prepared to swap the midfielder for Tom Cairney from Fulham – Newcastle desperate for more creativity and goals from somewhere.
Shelvey has missed the pace and movement of Dwight Gayle to hit when he (Shelvey) played earlier this season, little doubt Rafa will look to add some extra pace & movement in the coming month, though exactly what backing he will have is open to question…
“Clark and Darlow are still not available.
“The rest are available, including Jonjo Shelvey.
“I was convinced we could get something with the way we prepared, but these kind of mistakes make it difficult to manage against any team, especially a team like Liverpool.
“We have to be stronger mentally and show more character to stay in the game.
“We showed last year (Christmas/New Year) we could cope with the intensity and the number of games, and I am expecting something similar this year.
“I think we are capable of managing if we focus and understand everything we have to do.
“Some people underestimate the great job Javi Gracia is doing.
“They are playing well, they can compete against anyone, they can keep the ball and defend, and they have some strength physically.
“To get three points will be massive – we’ll be in a much better position in the table.
“But it is just as important to start 2019 well.”
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