Rafa Benitez has met the media on Friday afternoon.

The Newcastle boss speaking ahead of the FA Cup third round clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Newcastle are yet to reach the fifth round during Mike Ashley’s reign and with a tough relegation struggle ahead, very difficult for the NUFC boss to have any kind of serious go at this competition.

The Newcastle manager making clear there will be changes to his team for the FA Cup match and that five players are already ruled out: Mohamed Diame, Federico Fernandez and Karl Darlow all through injury, as well as Muto and Ki, who are both away at the Asian Cup.

The likes of Sean Longstaff, Jamie Sterry and Freddie Woodman are all likely to be involved.

Jonjo Shelvey might also be given a game with little playing time recently, whilst Florian Lejeune will surely play, either from the start or off the bench at some point – the defender only playing 45 minutes of reserve football so far as he recovers from injury.

Rafa Benitez though saying Ciaran Clark is now available after being ruled out recently.

Meanwhile he repeated that Rob Elliot is available to any takers in January, along with Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar.

Rafa Benitez speaking at pre-Blackburn press conference:

“Blackburn are doing well.

“They’re improving and watching games, they’re scoring goals, they move the ball well between the lines.

“If they’re playing against a Premier League team, they will give everything and it will be difficult.

“It’s an opportunity for us to do well.

“We will play at home; we have to change things at home so it’s an opportunity to do that.

“Can we do it? I hope so.

 “We will change players (for Blackburn) because we have too many games in a row.

“I saw that (speculation about Newcastle signing Mario Balotelli) but I will not talk about the transfer window.

“That (not talking about transfers) might be my position for the whole of January.

“Then I might talk on 1 February but we will have to see…

“What the (Newcastle) fans are trying to say (in the open letter to Mike Ashley asking for/demanding squad investment in January)  is that they want to compete and stay in the Premier League.

“The fans have been fantastic for us all season and I can understand what they think, they have ambition to get better. I will not talk about the transfer window.‏”

  • Paul Patterson

    “That (not talking about transfers) might be my position for the whole of January.”

    In other words he knows there’s no money/players coming in.

    “Then I might talk on 1 February but we will have to see…”

    In other words he will have had enough and then we will enter end game . .

    • Wezza


      “Then I might talk on 1 February”
      Wonder if he means WALK.
      I really hope he at least does talk and I’d love it to tell the truth about there not even being a budget.

      • Kneebotherm8

        He’ll talk in February about another disappointing transfer window( it’ll be his last transfer window in charge of this club)

        • Kev Newcastle England

          Benitez cheeses me off with choosing to play a weaker team in FA Cup,doing what FCB wants Just like all of the previous managers.He is no different there.Doesnt seem to have the balls to say “fc uk you Ashley Im playing a strong team”

          • Kneebotherm8

            All top division teams play weaker teams at this stage not just us.
            Priority for all teams is to stay in the division…….if we’re gonna compete in cups we need a whole lot stronger squad which the FCB is definitely not going to provide…..we even played weakened FA cup teams in the championship to make sure we didn’t get injuries to key players……whatever anyone says the priority for Rafa,and all premier league managers,is to stay in the division and he don’t need any input from the FCB to influence him on that.

      • magpiefifer

        Can’t see Rafa walking before the end of the season I thought he would have gone well before now,considering what the fatB has put him through!

  • Kenny

    The Fat [email protected]@king [email protected] has lied and lied to one of the best managers in Europe and undermined him time & again.
    His demeanour tells you he`s had enough.
    My New Years wish didn`t happen, Ashley & Penfold are still alive.

    • pedrodelgardo

      There’s time for your wish yet….what’s that Skippy? A helicopter crash? Down at the harbour? For the oldies!

  • Themoscow72

    That was expected so not really big news. Play the first team and win for the 38,000 loyal fans who will be in the ballot for a cup final ticket if we get there.

    • Wezza

      Simon what are you thoughts on the Leazes Flag’s being ripped up and binned by the club? Support the club and this is how they treat them? The guys family won’t be back!

      • Themoscow72

        If it was anti club which it must have been it deserved to be ripped up. What did the flag have on it.
        If pro club they would not have done it. Take the Monkseaton flag sometimes and it never gets ripped up.

        • Wezza

          Not anti club apparently the flags that were used in Leazes end on Wednesday.

        • joe mac

          you obviously were not at the at the game then! or you wld have seen they had nowt on them! ffs!

          • Themoscow72

            At every game but must have been some reason as them flags were all over.

          • Wezza

            Apparently it seems just out of spite. That’s what the organisers get for supporting their club.

        • drc74


    • Squintytoonarmy

      What’s your crowd prediction? See Bournemouth just spent £19 mill as well

  • Fisherking

    Rafa looks drained Ashley’s is responsible for this Rafa has more dignity in his farts than FCB will ever have what goes around comes around I just hope something happens to Ashley I really do

    • JEz_Brizzle

      I never wish the worst, but if it did you might seem more people turn out for Fatty than at Leicester – only thing is we’d be celebrating rather than commiserating.
      What a wonderful legacy he is leaving here…. will go down in our history for his antics – sad !!

  • Themoscow72

    Latest only 2,693 tickets left on sale on the web so get them before the price doubles on Saturday. However twenty pounds and ten on the day still great value.
    Might have to open more sections at this rate. The fans are certainly backing the club.

    • Wezza

      But the club is not backing their fans far from it with the Leazes Flags destruction. Also the guy said his family got thrown out for talking to John Beresford and asking players for autographs before the match. The guy has had enough and he, like myself will not step foot inside until FCB has gone.

      • Gallowgate Dave

        Do you know anything more about what happened Wezza? I heard they’d destroyed £4,500 worth of flags but don’t know any more of the story? A football club that hates its fans.

        • Wezza

          Just that the Leazes Flags persons’ kids got told they couldn’t ask for players autographs and he got threonine out after talking to John Beresford. He says he will not be back to SJP. Nor will I.
          What a disgusting rotten regime.

    • Fisherking

      Struggling to understand your comments are you employed by fatty or something where you been the last eleven years can you convince me of one thing Ashley has scraficed for the good of the club he’s definitely got you on side hook line and sinker

    • Wor Lass

      “Latest only 2,693 tickets left on sale …” Out of how many. If they`re sold is the ground full? Why are you ticket touting for the [email protected]?

      • drc74

        its because hes a cxckwombling moron

    • andrew baron

      Why would anyone go to a game we have little desire to win? We haven’t progressed past the 5th round in 11 years. Last time I checked the idea of playing football was to win the game.

    • pedrodelgardo

      Is Clarky going or is he stopping at home to cook your tea for you after the match?

  • TeessideMag

    Says everything really doesn’t it. I hope on February 1st he drops a bombshell on Ashley and publicly confirms what we all know. No budget, no intention, no chance. What does he have to lose. He might even walk and side with the fans, but I do doubt that however, it’s not his character

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      The real bombshell would be to say: – “As Mr Ashley has not invested in the club since I have been manager of Newcastle United, and has made survival in the Premiership increasingly difficult over the last two seasons, I have nothing more I can offer the club and will be leaving at the end of the season.”

  • Jewell Ahmed

    Bournemouth just spent £20m on a new striker.

    I look forward to the day when we too can compete in the market with such massive clubs as Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton.

    • Wezza

      We can’t compete because the fcb takes everybody penny the club generates!
      It really is beggars belief the lies and lies that come from this regime!
      Just stay away!

      • Jewell Ahmed

        Spot on.

    • HarryHype59

      This club has more cash that the mighty Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton. The FCB, won’t allow NUFC to reinvest its own money on decent players.

      • Jewell Ahmed

        Mate, I know that. I was being sarcastic with my post.

        • HarryHype59

          I know you were, I was just staying a fact for the Fleckman/Monkwearmouth Mackem/ Clarko troll.

  • Weyhhadaway

    We need a good thumping in all of our January games, go down, stay down till the club is worthless and then he might sell. Rafa will be gone along with any hope of success for a while, but that looks like the only way to get rid. On the plus side, everyone in the game has seen what is going on at this business, you can’t say club any more, so they might let up on the “deluded Fan” BS.

  • Tweed Mag

    Watched a short bit on Look North and Rafa looked completely deflated. His body language was laboured and his answers were low key and negative.
    He’s had enough of the oaf.

  • fistsofsteel2

    Rafa seems completely fed up now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks away before the end of January.