Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez faces media ahead of Chelsea, Everton linked with Jamaal Lascelles

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez will face the media today ahead of Newcastle United's final game of the season.

Benitez's side take on Chelsea at St James's Park on Sunday.

Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles

Only a convincing win will guarantee Newcastle a top-10 finish, while fifth-placed Chelsea still have a chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Benitez – who had a spell in charge of Chelsea – will speak to journalists at 1.30pm ahead of the sold-out game.

Stuck on you

Yet another club has been linked with United captain Jamaal Lascelles.

Everton are reportedly lining up a £25million move for Lascelles.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with moves for Lascelles, who has been outstanding this season.

And The Mirror claim that the Toffees are ready to make a summer bid for the 24-year-old, who signed a new long-term contract at St James's Park early this season.

Benitez addressed speculation about Lascelles' future last month.

Benitez said: "He's happy, training well, he's improving, he's focused. You can't stop speculation about players, but I was talking with him and the focus is just trying to improve his game.

"I think, at the moment, he knows he has to continue progressing and learning, but he's quite happy here."

Decision time

Benitez has strongly hinted that Newcastle will take up their option on Martin Dubravka this summer.

The club can activate a clause and turn the goalkeeper's loan into a permanent move.

Dubravka, 29, has impressed since joining from Sparta Prague in January, and Benitez has said that it will be an "easy" deal to do.

The Slovakia international has been kept busy in United's last two games, and he's spoken about his performances at Wembley and Vicarage Road.

Fight club

United have lost their last four Premier League games.

Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Bromwich Albion and Everton have beaten Newcastle since the club secured its Premier League status with a win over Arsenal last month.

However, defender Paul Dummett believes the team's performance in Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley showed that the players will fight to the end.

"I don’t think people can say we’ve thrown the towel in – our performance against Spurs showed that,” said Dummett.

“The squad we have simply doesn’t have that mentality.

“The games we’ve had have been tough – every game in the Premier League is a tough game – and the Spurs game proved that.

“We had good chances, we just couldn’t score from them.

“The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, and if you give people half a chance, they can score.”

Read our full interview with Dummett here.