Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle backroom team on standby to take charge at Swansea

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez could yet miss Newcastle United’s game against Swansea City as he recovers from surgery.

Benitez – who had an operation late last week – set off from his family home on Merseyside for Tyneside yesterday, but he turned back after feeling discomfort.

The 57-year-old had a procedure to clean out an old hernia wound.

And Benitez’s staff have reportedly advised him to miss Sunday’s game at the Liberty Stadium.

Fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno – Benitez’s No 2 at Newcastle – will take this afternoon’s pre-match press conference at the club’s training ground.

While desperate to return to the club ahead of the Swansea game, Benitez will be guided by medical advice.

You can see they are a very organised team. Clearly, Rafa’s worked with them. You can see that. They’re well drilled and well organised.

Paul Clement

And he could choose to travel from his home to Swansea on the day of the game.

Swansea head coach Paul Clement yesterday wished Benitez a “speedy recovery” when he spoke to journalists yesterday.

Clement also spoke about the return of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to his former club and Newcastle’s “very strong” 3-0 win over West Ham United before the international break.

“They’ve responded well in their last game, winning 3-0 having not had the best of starts,” said Clement.

“They lost at home (to Tottenham Hotspur), and they would be disappointed with the result away at Huddersfield.

“They responded well after two losses.

“That’s a very strong result against West Ham.

“You can see they are a very organised team. Clearly, Rafa’s worked with them. You can see that. They’re well drilled and well organised.

“Having come up against his teams in the past, they always have good structure.

“I think he’s been a very good coach at the top level for many, many years.”

Clement was also asked about the return of Shelvey to the Liberty Stadium, where he could get a hostile reception from home fans.

Newcastle signed Shelvey – who is available after serving a three-match ban for stamping on Tottenham’s Dele Alli – from Swansea for £12million in January last year.

“I think all players who’ve done well for their respective clubs should get good receptions,” said Clement.

“Jonjo was a very good player here. He’s just come back from suspension. I’m not sure whether he’ll start or come into the game.”

Meanwhile, Clement said new signings Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony would be available to face United.

Midfielder Sanches has joined on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich, while Bony has re-signed from Manchester City.

Clement said: “Renato will have two training sessions going into the game against Newcastle.

“We’ll check him over when he comes in, but I have no reason to believe there are any problems. I anticipate him being involved.”