Rafa Benitez looking forward to winnable games after January and confirms Shelvey and Diame already doubts for Cardiff
It is impossible to look at this Blackburn FA Cup replay as a stand alone game and so it proved with the Rafa Benitez pre-match press conference.
The Newcastle manager forced to juggle ever decreasing resources against ever increasing challenges.
I would guess his biggest hope at Blackburn is that nobody gets injured who he might remotely need in the Premier League these coming weeks and months.
Rafa Benitez stated this afternoon that ‘We know that it’s important to win for the confidence and morale’ but what else can he say?
A hammering at Blackburn wouldn’t be good in any way but surely losing by the odd goal wouldn’t be upsetting anybody on the management/coaching staff.
Rafa confirmed that Diame and Shelvey are ‘100% not available’ for this Blackburn game and indicated they are already doubts for Cardiff on Saturday.
The manager’s reaction to that and Ki away on international duty: ‘We do have some problems in central midfield but we will deal with that.’
Rafa Benitez has confirmed that as well as younger players Freddie Woodman, Jamie Sterry and Sean Longstaff all set to be involved at Ewood Park, winger Callum Roberts will also travel, rather than playing for the reserves tonight.
Dismissing the idiotic Rio Ferdinand comments with ‘Our supporters are quite clever’, the NUFC boss also said he is already looking ahead into February: ‘It is a long season and we have games against teams that we can compete with after January.’
It is Cardiff at home on Saturday and then five weeks until the next match when Newcastle will be expected to get any points, having to face Man City at home and then Spurs and Wolves away.
That run is followed by consecutive home games against Huddersfield and Burnley.
It is not even focus just on the Premier League but focus on certain PL games.
No matter what happens against Man City, Blackburn, Spurs and Wolves, if Newcastle can beat Cardiff, Huddersfield and Burnley then that should guarantee they will be in a relatively ok position with 27 points from 28 games. Anything less, especially if the likes of Cardiff and/or Burnley take points off Newcastle, it could spell disaster.
Rafa Benitez pre-Blackburn FA Cup replay press conference:
“We have the same problems as before.
“Shelvey, Dummett and Diamé are not available. Darlow has some problems.
“We have to assess them (Shelvey and Diame) before the Cardiff game.
“For this one (against Blackburn), they are 100 per cent not available.
“We do have some problems in central midfield but we will deal with that.
“We know that it’s important to win for the confidence and morale.
“We will try to do well with the players we have available.
“And after Blackburn, we have to concentrate on Cardiff.
“I think everybody could see we did well (at Chelsea).
“A friend in Italy was watching the game – they know the people at Chelsea, because they are Italian – and they said ‘you did well’.
“We have to carry on with this intensity, organisation and belief.”
Asked about Rio Ferdinand’s comments:
“Our supporters are quite clever.
“I have to concentrate on our own business and our fans want to (be able to) compete in the Premier League.
“We ave to keep going, it is a long season and we have games against teams that we can compete with after January.”
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