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.”

  • Wezza

    Damage limitation then.
    This is what happens when you setup the club as a cash cow – we struggle with injuries and we have no quality replacements.
    Best we can hope for is 17th and then the same next season… and the next while the TV money gets creatively moved to MASH Holdings.

    • JohnnyH

      To MASH holdings prior to its onward journey to Debenhams

      • KennyS

        To Debenhams prior to its onward journey to fat Ashleys tax free haven account in Switzerland

    • Themoscow72

      We rested eight players for Blackburn and one for Sunderland so Rafa must expect us to win or pointless otherwise.

      • Wezza

        Monk, your logic is flawed!
        Even if we rested players at Blackburn they’d still have had a week off. They’ve had 10 so isn’t that better?

        • Paul Patterson

          I’d give up, he’s an idiot . .

          • Kneebotherm8

            The Monkseaton village idiot……..is it Sean Longstaff we rested against league one Sunderland?………he must be in for a key role at Chelsea?….

          • HarryHype59

            Monkseaton village idiot you say…more like Monkwearmouth village idiot. Only a Mackem could defend Ashley’s appalling mismanagement of this club.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Aye,you’re probably right there….😂

      • Andrew Small

        No, Moscow.

        Rafa is having to rest players to try and keep whatever defeat we’re likely to suffer at Stamford Bridge, as narrow as possible. Not because he is hoping for a win.

        This is largely because your saviour has neglected both the team and the manager for years now, giving the club no strength in depth.

        • Wezza

          He doesn’t reply cos he has no comeback for that!

      • Tweed Mag

        What is your line up for tomorrow Monk? Give Rafa a clue so he can benefit from your team selection.

        • Peaky

          Just Perez and his magic hair gel….no one else needed…

          • Kneebotherm8

            First name on the team sheet as ever……pity we didn’t have another 10 like him…..

      • New Durham Mags

        Rested/Rotated. Again you must the point !! the fact that we have no quality players in reserve to swap and change with the starting 11 is down to your mate not Rafa. we couldnt make a match day squad if we didnt borrow palyers from other teams. All mikes doing !! he decided to take out the money even though we couldnt fill a 23 man squad at the start of the season.
        You wont win this pathetic little game you’re playing trying to defend a total crook of an owner. you make your self look like a fool. I would like to bet you dont voice these opinions to the rest of the travelling fans in person. They would linch you with a drink in them.

        • Kneebotherm8

          We’ve all been agreed for a very,very long time that he’s a fool…………he just keeps on confirming it…..

          • New Durham Mags

            Hes [email protected] if i shake my head any more at his comments it will fall off.
            Worst thing is he believes this sh!tte !!

          • Kneebotherm8

            He does actually believe it …………he’s one very sad case……heed case in fact…😂

    • HarryHype59

      If this was happening to a London EPL club, the national media would be running ‘specials’ on the asset stripping, money siphoning antics of the owner.

      Even local media refuse to overtly condemn the way Ashley is draining the life and money, from this club.

      That irritating sanctimonious, Scots guest presenter on Total Sport, is another one who tacitly defends this awful regime and it’s owner.

  • Superdooperhooper

    The lack of investment is really hitting home now . We were lucky with injuries last season but we would never be that lucky again. Them’s slim pickings rafa has to choose from

    • Toontaff

      Slim Pickens would improve our forward line!

  • Kenny

    It`s just another nail in the coffin, Rafa does his best but with the squad he has he`s fighting a losing battle game after game.
    Nufc is finished as a football club.

    • Taz

      Kenny, I like some of your posts but nufc will never be defeated. We are down but not out itsshit at the mo but black and white is what runs through our veins it’s a cross we have to bare. Nufc will never be finished its I possible. The fcw is just one man, we are and always will be United. It’s just tough at the mo. Newcastle United we stand for football and our city… the fattwat. Is just a cancer that will eventually dissapear, I live in hope

  • Mrkgw

    It would seem that this archaic dictatorship have now muted Rafa. What an appalling way to run a football club. The Manager, the players and all supporters should dessert en masse. What would the despicable one have then? An empty shell and a load of tumbleweed. He deserves no more than that, for destroying the soul of his plaything.


  • magpiefifer

    I can see us not only losing tomorrow,but also against Cardiff and the 3 games after that,at least!! Oh,and we’ll no doubt be dumped out of the FA Cup next Tuesday – result,season over!!
    Ashley out!! If not,supporters out.

  • Peaky

    Well….into another weekend of January with no signings and no progression on the fakeover…..all going to plan Michael you lying devious fatcunt…..not long to go now….

    • Kneebotherm8

      Michael is tekkin the Mick oot of us……

  • HarryHype59

    No signings, but Fatso will be pocketing an eight figure tranche of the 2018-19 TV money. No wonder he has absolutely no intention of selling!

  • Tommy

    We can look forward to a 100,000 word summation on where it all went wrong by
    leazes, he will even correct correct your replies if the are not word perfect.
    A real bonus.

    • wheyayeman

      To be fair, Leazes usually speaks the hard truth, he might be a miserable git but it’s because he cares about the club and the complete shambles It’s become.

      • Toontaff

        He did smile once—or was it wind?

  • LA toon

    Predicted 3-0 to Chelski on the NBC predictor competition. As this game is the only PL game at 12.30pm EST I will be off on a 2 hour bike ride, as I stated last week I will not watch the Toon while the FCB is the owner. Supporting the fans who are refusing to attend matches.

    • Martin Rooney

      I think a lot of those saying they’re boycotting on here are abroad like your good self.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Maybe but I live in Walker and I boycott. They’re 7 billion people on this planet and any one of them would be better than ashley. The reason why? Because they wouldn’t be spiteful to nufc

        • Martin Rooney

          Glad to hear it gents, I look forward to seeing a queue at the box office on the day he leaves.
          Any new owner can rest assured that revenues will surge ince they’re in a it.
          Until of course they fart in the wrong direction and become the biggest tw at the world has ever seen.

      • Glockas

        I’m in good old Wallsend and will not attend another game or subscribe to Sky whilst the pieman is still there.

  • Martin Rooney

    ‘The fans the staff everyone….. support the players’.
    You first Rafa you six mil to be the leader

  • Mr_Kinnear

    I wonder if Rafas agent has the next job lined up yet?

  • Toontaff

    We should play 2 keepers, 2 full backs, 5 centre-halves, Rondon and a wheelie bin/Perez – depending on the fitness of the bin!