Five questions for Rafa Benitez ahead of Newcastle's home game against Watford

Rafa Benitez will face the media today ahead of Watford's visit to St James's Park.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th November 2017, 9:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:57 am
Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United will take on Marco Silva's side tomorrow afternoon looking to end a run of three successive defeats.

Benitez's side were beaten 4-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.

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The result left the club 11th in the Premier League table with a tough run of December fixtures on the horizon.

Here are five questions for Benitez:

Who's in, and who's out?

Benitez gave an injury update earlier this week.

Mikel Merino

United's manager spoke about the fitness of Jamaal Lascelles, Mikel Merino, Christian Atsu and Paul Dummett.

Benitez said Lascelles (ankle) and Atsu (thigh) "need some time", but he was more positive about Merino (back) and Dummett (hamstring).

So will Dummett, out since the first game of the season, be fit to face Watford?

Aleksandar Mitrovic

What you do make of Mitrovic's comments about his future?

Aleksandar Mitrovic spoke about his future at Old Trafford.

Mitrovic – who is interesting a number of clubs ahead of the January transfer window – has admitted his “patience is almost to the end”.

The Serbia international needs to play between now and next summer's World Cup.

Mikel Merino

However, he has only played 49 minutes of Premier League football so far this season.

“If you want to do something there, you have to be ready," said the striker. "If I want to be ready, I have to play games and to be on the pitch scoring goals.”

Benitez is understood to be prepared let Mitrovic leave in January – if he is given money to secure a replacement.

Is Murphy now settled at Newcastle?

Jacob Murphy, signed from Norwich City for £12million in the summer, has had a tough first few months on Tyneside.

The winger, largely used as a substitute, has looked short of confidence.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

However, Murphy did well last weekend on what was only his second league start.

Is the 22-year-old now ready to kick on and show what he can do?

What do you make of Watford this season?

Watford have done well so far this season. So well, in fact, that Everton moved for Marco Silva, their manager, after sacking Ronald Koeman.

Silva's side are eighth in the Premier League table, while Newcastle remain 11th.

What does Benitez make of the Watford?

Can you expand on your comments about a takeover?

Benitez has said very little, so far, about the prospect of a takeover at Newcastle.

However, speaking before news broke this week of Amanda Staveley's bid for the club, Benitez claimed January's transfer funds will be "more or less the same" whether the club is sold or not.

“If something happens, it would be better for everyone," Benitez told BT Sport.

"Still, we're working with different options. Also another message that is very clear for the fans is not that a new owner will come and spend £100million in the transfer window. No chance.

"So our money will be more or less the same."