Rafa Benitez sat down with the media in his pre-match press conference to discuss various topics ahead of Newcastle’s clash at home to Huddersfield on Saturday.
The Magpies will be looking to get back to winning ways after being denied in the 95th minute at Wolves last time out.
United have had almost two weeks to get that pain out of their system and spent much of that time in a Spanish training camp.
This involved a friendly against CSKA Moscow last weekend with the score ending 1-1.
Newcastle face the side rooted to the bottom of the table and 14 points adrift of safety.
Benitez’s side will therefore be overwhelming favourites to pull clear of the relegation zone and hope to look ahead rather than behind.
The mananger was asked questions about his future, tomorrows opponents, a big week for his side as well as his potential team selection.
Here’s what the gaffer had to say…
With a near fully-fit squad, Benitez has a positive selection dilemma to make althugh not everyone is ready:
“We have now Elliot and Clark not available but the others are fine – even Shelvey was training with us yesterday. Any of the players can start a game now but obviously the match-fitness of Jonjo will be different.
“The problem we had is he was pushing too hard. We realised we had to be careful the next time, which is why we are managing him. But, he’s OK, he was training, and I think he’s ready now; it’s a question of deciding when.
“It’s good for us to have everyone fit and training well. Hopefully, it can stay like that and I can use different players in different games. It’s a good dilemma and, hopefully, we can have the same problems until the end of the season.”
The Terriers have had a nightmare of a season but the gaffer is making sure complacency doesn’t become an issue.
“You can say it’s a dangerous game because everyone is expecting you have to get three points at home against the team at the bottom.
“It will be important for us to do well at the beginning of the game and try to score a goal.”
The Magpies goalkeeper has come in for some criticism in recent matches after making a couple of costly errors.
Benitez is confident that Dubravka will get back to his best in the coming weeks.
“After the Tottenham game, I was in contact and supported him 100%
“He is a great player and great professional. I think he’s doing fine, I expect he will deal with this pressure fine.”
On His Future
With rumours about Benitez moving to Leicester refusing to go away, questions were poised about the Spaniards future at the club.
However, the gaffer remained tight-lipped and refused to give much comment.
“It is not the priority. The priority is to be ready and focus on the Huddersfield game. That’s it.
“The priority is to stay up and focus on the team. If we have any conversations I’m sure you will get the information.
“It’s not the priority – the priority is Huddersfield and getting the points to stay up.”
On The Next Two Games
After the Magpies host Huddersfield tomorrow, they then entertain Burnley at St James’ Park on Tuesday.
This is a real opportunity for Newcastle to pick up six points and move away from the bottom three.
“The only thing is if we win both games we will be closer. Maybe the Fulham game on the last day might be the most important”
More positive news for United is that Almiron is likely to make his full debut tomorrow.
After an impressive cameo at Molineux, the gaffer said the record signing is ready to start.
“Almiron is ready to start. It’s more good news for us. It’s a big decision for me to make.”