Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez deflects transfer window questions, injury update

Alvaro Morata celebrates his goal for Chelsea
Alvaro Morata celebrates his goal for Chelsea

The January transfer window is getting closer.

But Rafa Benitez, it seems, isn't any closer to finding out how much money he will have to spend in January.

Benitez was asked about next month after Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

And his reply wasn't particularly revealing.

Benitez also gave an injury update on Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett and Christian Atsu.

Here's your daily briefing:

In the dark

"I have no idea".

That was Benitez's reply to questions on January's transfer window.

Benitez, keen to strengthen his squad in the window, was asked about importance of next month after the Chelsea game.

United's manager, however, still thinks 15th-placed Newcastle have got enough quality to stay up.

“We have to improve. But to stay up? I think so. But when people talk about these games, this is the Premier League.

“We know we have to improve a lot of things, but still we will be a team in the bottom half of the table.

“We’re a young team that has to learn and has to improve, and we’re learning every week.”

Fitness boost

Benitez is hoping for some positive news on Lascelles, Dummett and Atsu ahead of the club's home double-header against Leicester City and Everton.

"They’re closer, but we will see on Tuesday how they feel,” said Benitez. “They’re getting better.”

Asked if they would be fit to face Leicester, Benitez added: “I don’t know – we’ll see this week. Atsu was very close, Dummett was very close and Jamaal was better, but we’ll see how he feels during the week.”

No panic

Newcastle have taken one point from their last six games.

Forward Ayoze Perez, however, doesn't believe it's time to panic.

"It’s not such a bad situation that we have to say we’re panicking," said Perez. "But we have to realise that we have to start winning now otherwise it’s going to get very tough for us.

Read the full interview with Perez here
Mikel Merino also gave his view on the Chelsea game, his fitness and Saturday's fixture against Leicester at St James's Park.