Rafa Benitez reveals what he told one Newcastle player this week

Rafa Benitez says he has a united dressing room ahead of the relegation run-in.

Saturday, 31st March 2018, 7:00 am

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles spoke about the “stability” Benitez has brought to the club ahead of this afternoon’s home game against Huddersfield Town.

Lascelles also insisted that the club’s hierarchy must keep Benitez at St James’s Park.

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Benitez, United’s manager, has sidestepped questions about his future ahead of end-of-season talks with owner Mike Ashley.

However, he was heartened by Lascelles’s comments.

“The atmosphere inside the dressing room is quite good,” said Benitez.

“Like anywhere, we have players who will not be happy because they’re not playing, but the majority of them, they know we’re trying to improve everyone, even players who are not playing every game.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

“I was talking with one of them the other day and I said ‘listen, you’re not playing, but for yourself, just keep training and working hard, because maybe it will be important for the next month, or maybe for your future, or maybe even for next week, you never know’.

“We have a very good atmosphere. Players talking well about things that are going on, or praising the manager or the staff or whatever, is always good, because in the end what you want is a positive environment that allows you to win more points in every game.”

Lascelles, in the same interview, said that talk over a takeover in the wake of Ashley’s decision to put the club up for sale last October had been a distraction.

Newcastle had a dip in form late last year, but the team recovered and is now 13th in the Premier League with eight games left to play.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Benitez said: “I’m not convinced about that.

“I was not talking with them about this. You were asking the same question, and I was saying ‘no’. I was surprised he said this, but maybe some players (were distracted).

“We have to be sure the next game we don’t have this distraction and we’re just focused on football.”