Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez faces media ahead of West Ham, Kenedy loan bid update

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez will face the media today ahead of Newcastle United's first visit to the London Stadium.

Benitez's 18th-placed side take on West Ham United tomorrow.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic

And Newcastle's manager will hold his pre-match press conference at 1.30pm this afternoon.

Rob Elliot returned to Benitez's starting XI against Arsenal last weekend.

The goalkeeper has spoken about Benitez's decision to drop him earlier this month.

We also have some news ahead of next month's transfer window.

Kenedy

Kenedy

Here's your daily briefing:

January bid?

Is former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew plotting a move for Aleksandar Mitrovic?

Pardew, now in charge of West Bromwich Albion, wants to sign a striker next month.

And a report has today claimed that there have been "discussions" over a move for Mitrovic, who is frustrated at a lack of games.

Meanwhile, United hope to sign Chelsea winger Kenedy on loan next month.

Benitez had hoped to sign the 21-year-old in the summer.

Character

Newcastle, beaten 1-0 by Arsenal last Saturday, have lost eight of their last nine games.

And the club is now third-bottom ahead of its festive programme.

Asked about the West Ham fixture, Benitez said: "I think it will be another important game.

"The main thing will be to see our players with the same character, and then you never know what can happen. As I've said so many times, it's a long race and we have to keep going.

"We cannot put our heads down and think 'this' or 'that'. It's just to be sure that we continue working hard and doing what we have to do every game to compete and be there and create chances. Hopefully, we can take our chances."

Opinion

Elliot has candidly spoken about his three-game absence from Newcastle's starting XI.

Benitez fielded Karl Darlow in goal for the games against Chelsea, Leicester City and Everton.

Elliot was recalled after Darlow made a mistake in the 1-0 home defeat to Everton.

“I went to go and speak to him about it, because you have to," said Elliot.

"You wouldn’t expect a player to just accept it and sulk around. I have a lot of respect for the manager – I really like him. He’s a fantastic manager, who I’ve learnt a lot from.

“I just had to give him my opinion and he gave me his. There was no problem.

“I just had to carry on working hard, and I got back in the team. That’s it really. All I can do is work as hard as I can and when I play, give my best and go from there.”

Read the full interview here.

And finally...

United captain Jamaal Lascelles has given his view on the club's predicament.