Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez faces the media, contract update

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitezb will face the media this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's game against Watford.

Newcastle United take on Javi Gracia's side at Vicarage Road on the back of successive 1-0 defeats.

Benitez will hold his pre-match press conference at 1,30pm.

United's manager spoke to the BBC's Premier League Show ahead of the game.

Benitez addressed his contract situation in last night's programme as well the club's campaign.

Here's your daily briefing:

Deal or no deal

Representatives of Benitez have held talks with the club’s hierarchy over a new deal.

However, Benitez wants assurances over investment, having been left frustrated by Newcastle’s failure to land a series of targets in the last three transfer windows.

Speaking to the The Premier League Show, Benitez said: “I have one year left on my contract.

“We are already talking, and we will see where we are. “My position is clear and simple. I’m happy here.

“Hopefully, we can do everything that we have to do to be sure the strength of the team and the club is enough to compete and maybe achieve what we want to achieve.”

Read more from Benitez's interview here.

Pay off

DeAndre Yedlin has spoken about Newcastle's upturn in fortunes.

The club secured it's Premier League status with five games left to play.

“If you’d have asked a lot of people before Christmas if we’d have been safe with a month to go, they would’ve said you were crazy,” said DeAndre Yedlin, speaking at a Tesco Bank Junior Players community event at a North Tyneside school this week.

“Obviously, to be in this position ... you have to give credit to the players, credit to the staff and also credit to the fans for not turning on us. They stuck by us.

“They were positive and kept us going. Ultimately, it’s paid off.

“We’ve achieved our goal of 40 points, but we want to keep pushing harder now. We don’t want to end a good season on a sour note. We want to get points from these next games.”

Net gain

United's Aleksandar Mitrovic has netted another award – as Islam Slimani faces up to a three-game ban.

Mitrovic, on loan to Fulham, has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for April.

The striker scored five goals in six games last month as his club kept the pressure up on second-placed Cardiff City.

"It feels great, I'm glad for the award," said 23-year-old Mitrovic.

"But I'm even happier that the team's doing well and keep winning games. We have one game to go before the end of the regular season, so we have to focus on this game to try and win and see what happens with Cardiff."

Meanwhile, striker Slimani, on loan from Leicester City, will miss Newcastle's last three games through suspension after kicking out at Craig Dawson in last weekend's defeat to West Bromwich Albion.