Rafa Benitez as been speaking to the media on Friday afternoon.
The Newcastle boss talking ahead of Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.
As has become the norm this month, Rafa Benitez refused to discuss either the (supposed) takeover of the club, nor the lack of action in the transfer market.
Interesting to see how long this lasts, on the lack of signings anyway.
The manager did have some good news on the injury front, informing journalists that both Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez were now fit to play.
With Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and now Florian Lejeune all available as well, the manager has a relative embarrassment of riches available in the centre of defence. How he wishes this was the case anywhere else in his team.
It seems all but guaranteed that Rafa Benitez will play with three central defenders yet again, which at least means that three of our better players will have spaces in the starting eleven.
However, Rafa also informed us that Paul Dummett and Jonjo Shelvey aren’t available.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the pair had travelled to Barcelona to see a specialist, Dummett with an ongoing hamstring problem and Shelvey with his thigh.
Altogether, the NUFC boss will be missing at least six of his first team squad, as both Ki and Muto are at the Asian Cup, Darlow is out injured still, whilst Kenedy can’t play against the club that has loaned him out.
Rafa Benitez pre-Chelsea press conference:
“I won’t talk about the transfer window.
“I won’t talk about names.
“I don’t talk about players or a takeover.
“The fans, the staff and everyone here, we have to keep supporting the players.
“They care, they work hard, they fight.
“Sometimes, you have a bad moment, but the next game is another opportunity and we have to be ready for it.
“We were very close in our last game (to getting something) here (in August).
“We have to make sure we stay in the game and if they make mistakes, we have to punish them.
“Newcastle is a big city and it’s a massive club.
“Some people say you have to do this and do that, but the reality is that when we work together and we are united, we are stronger. We saw that in the Championship and we saw that last season.
“They (the players) are disappointed when you lose and don’t take chances, but after that, we have to clear our heads and start thinking about the next game.
“Last January, we were in a difficult position, but we started winning and we finished tenth.
“Jonjo, Dummett and Darlow are not available.
“Fede (Fernández) and Clark are both available. Lejeune, who came in against Blackburn, is fine.
“So, we have some good news and some bad news.”