Newcastle United briefing: Why it's show time for Martin Dubravka, Rafa Benitez reveals what won't change his life

And then there was three.

Monday, 30th April 2018, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 30th April 2018, 11:41 am
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United have just three Premier League games left to play this season.

Rafa Benitez's side suffered a second successive 1-0 defeat at the weekend.

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A goal from Matt Phillips saw West Bromwich Albion keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive.

Newcastle, of course, secured their top-flight status earlier this month, so is Benitez's side all played out after achieving their goal?

Here's your daily briefing:

Improve

Newcastle could still finish as high as eighth this season.

With each Premier League place worth £1.9million, there's a financial as well as sporting incentive for the 10th-placed club to carry on up the table.

Benitez, already planning for next season, is more concerned with performances than places ahead of Saturday’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

“I said before, for me to finish eighth or 15th doesn’t change my life,” said Benitez.

“It means a lot if you can finish higher in the table, fine. But I like to win trophies, not to finish 10th.

“This time, OK, we can finish ninth, it’s better that you finish ninth. But we have to improve, we cannot play at the level we did against West Brom.”

Did the West Brom defeat underline the need for summer investment? Benitez has his say here.

Dressing room

A candid Benitez said "everything was wrong from the first minute" against West Brom.

There was also honesty in the dressing room, according to DeAndre Yedlin.

“We were all talking after the game and said it wasn’t good enough out there,” said Yedlin.

“If the quality’s not there, the least you can do is show the fight. And we didn’t do that.

“It was disappointing, we needed to show more fight and we didn’t show it.

“We didn’t create enough, that’s the name of the game. They countered too many times, and we fell asleep defensively. It was really disappointing.”

Read our full interview with Yedlin here.

'Stupid'

One player who may have kicked his last ball for Newcastle is Islam Slimani, who kicked out at Craig Dawson late in West Brom game.

The incident wasn't seen by referee David Coote, and the striker, on loan from Leicester City, will find out today or tomorrow whether he will be charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

The offence has a punishment of a three-game ban.

Former United striker Alan Shearer didn't pull any punches on Match of the Day when asked about the incident.

“He will get a three-match ban, I have no doubt about it,” said Shearer. “It’s stupid. You’ve hardly even played for Newcastl,e and that’s probably the last time he will play for Newcastle. It’s just daft, stupid.”

Show time

Do Newcastle have anything to play for between now and the end of the season?

On-loan goalkeeper Martin Dubravka – who hopes to earn a permanent move to St James's Park – certainly thinks so.

"Everybody in the city says we're safe, but I'm not playing like that, because I came for half a season and I have to show myself and also my team-mates would like to show themselves," said the 29-year-old.

"They're great players, and they want to give everything for the club. We have to put everything into the games."