Rafa Benitez has confirmed that both Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey are out of the game at Manchester City tomorrow but that Jamaal Lascelles is fit and ready to go.
And Rafa is quite confident about things although he says we knew the first five games would be tough when we have to face four of the top six clubs in the league.
Rafa Benitez – at his press conference
Here’s some of what Rafa has said in his press conference today:
“The owner is the owner and he is always welcome here. We are a professional club who are open to anyone. He can come here whenever he wants. We have no problems”
“In terms of injuries, Shelvey is out, so is Ritchie. But Lascelles is available. He is an important player but it’s good for the confidence that players are coming back”
“We have proved we were right last year. With the players we have and staff – we finished 10th.”
“We have to maximise what we have here.”
“We knew when we saw the fixtures it would be tough. What I have to do is make sure the team is strong enough generally.”
“As a manager you want professionals who care. Every year you have 2 or 3 situations because we have competitive professionals who want to win. I think it’s very positive”
“We know we had a complicated fixture list and it would be a difficult season. But we have to approach Manchester City n the best way possible.”
“With eleven vs eleven you never know. We don’t need to prove anything. We just need to do what we need to do to get 3 points, or 1 point”
“We’ve been quite good vs big teams. They have top-class players who can make the difference, so everything has to be perfect if we want a result.”
“You have to have ambition, but you have to be realistic. If we want to stay in the PL we have to manage expectations”
Rafa is trying to set the expectations there, and we may even lose the next two games against Manchester City and Arsenal, but we have to stay upbeat – we can start winning games soon after these games – if we do lose both of them.
It’s a very tough start to the season for Newcastle regarding the level of the opposition.
Let’s keep the faith.