Benitez talks transfers, team news & sitting out of Swansea in first press conference since returning to NUFC

Rafa Benitez has spoken out for the first time since his return to NUFC today, taking part in this afternoon’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game with Stoke City.

With several topics being discussed by the Spaniard, here’s a summary of what he had to say, plus quotes below from the man himself on the transfer window, tomorrow’s team and his message to the fans following their support during his absence:

  • Benitez started by thanking everyone for their kind messages during his time out recovering from an operation.
  • He said he was ‘on the sofa taking notes and shouting’ during the Swansea game, but was confident because the staff were telling me “everything was going according to plan”.
  • Regarding the transfer window Rafa said that ‘we are where we are’ and that he is only focused now on moving on and improving the players he has so we can compete in the Premier League
  • He then confirmed ahead of tomorrow’s game that Paul Dummett and Massaido Haidara are the only players currently injured in the NUFC squad – suggesting Mbemba could be back from injury tomorrow.
  • Rafa says he is happy with our form but warned against overconfidence, saying we must continue to do what we have been doing.
  • He confirmed that a talks over a new-deal are taking place with Jamaal Lascelles, stating it is a deal that won’t be too complicated to conclude.
  • Benitez admits to meeting with Jonjo Shelvey, having told him he is a ‘good player’ who can get back into the team if he stays focused and trains well.
  • Rafa has also praised Joselu, saying he has shown glimpses of what they know he can do, but still has room to improve.
  • Benitez then commented on tomorrow’s opponents Stoke, saying they are a well-balanced side, with ‘pace and size’.

 

Rafa’s message to the fans following his spell on the sidelines:

Benitez on the Swansea game:

Rafa warns against overconfidence tomorrow after two wins on the bounce:

Benitez on his conversation with Jonjo Shelvey this week:

Rafa on injuries:

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About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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