Rafa Benitez explains his stance on banned Jonjo Shelvey and a 'confused situation'

Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey

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Rafa Benitez has reacted to Jonjo Shelvey's five-game ban for racial abuse.

The Newcastle United midfielder was this week found guilty by an independent panel of using racially-aggravated language towards Wolverhampton Wanderers' Romain Saiss in September.

The 24-year-old had denied the Football Association misconduct charge and his version of events was backed by two team-mates.

Shelvey, also fined £100,000, opted not to appeal the decision and sanction of the Independent Regulatory Commission.

United manager Benitez said: “We support him. For me, it was a confused situation. The main thing is he knows he has to be careful and concentrate on his football.

"We know we will not have him for five games.

"Strange things happen on the pitch, and everyone is referring to this issue, but we continue to support him.

"We know he made a mistake, but it is very confusing. What we have to do is move on and think about the future.

"We know what they said, but it is very confused. I have been playing football all my life ... someone was hearing one thing, someone else something else, others ... nothing at all.

"He knows he made a mistakes, but it is a big punishment for him and for us.

“He is a great player doing a great job for us. I hope he will be more mature."

Shelvey will miss the Championship games against Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Brentford as well as a FA Cup tie against Birmingham City.