Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez faces the media, historic turnstiles set for auction

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez will speak to the media this afternoon ahead of Newcastle United's visit to the Amex Stadium.

Benitez's fourth-placed side will take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday looking to make it four wins out of four in the Premier League.

Midfielder Mikel Merino, meanwhile, has talked about the influence Benitez has already had on him at Newcastle, while DeAndre Yedlin has spoken about the competition for a place.

READ MORE: Newcastle have come a long way since THAT visit to the Amex Stadium – thanks to Rafa Benitez

And Brighton manager Chris Hughton has already spoken to the media about the United match.

Here's your daily briefing:

Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton

Different rhythm

Merino, signed on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund, has been outstanding in recent weeks.

The 21-year-old has quickly adapted to Premier League football.

And Merino puts his early success down to the influence of Benitez, his Spainish countryman.

Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino

“I’m improving a lot tactically,” said Merino. “Physically, I still need to adapt to the league and how it works.

“It’s a different rhythm in this league, and he knows it, so he’s giving me – not only me, but all of the team – advice all the time.

“Tactically, he tells you want to do, what he wants.

“I think I’m improving, and, little by little, I will reach 100%. That’s what I want to do – to keep improving and be my best, and this coach can help me do that.”

DeAndre Yedlin, left

DeAndre Yedlin, left

Healthy competition

Yedlin returned from injury in last weekend's 2-1 win over Stoke City.

Javier Manquillo, signed from Atletico Madrid in the summer, had started the season at right-back.

And Yedlin – who suffered a hamstring injury in pre-season – also faces renewed competition from Jesus Gamez, who, like Manquillo, can play in either full-back position.

The 24-year-old has spoken about the competition for places at the club.
“It’s good for any team,” said Yedlin. “You see the results we’re getting now – a lot of it’s due to the competition.

“For me, whether it be Manquillo or Jesus or Chancel (Mbemba), I love the competition.

“It’s great and healthy for the team. We’re all in it together even though we may all be fighting for one spot.

“We’re all in it for the same goal, which is to be the best that we can be. Hopefully, we’ll come out with good results.”

Good form

Hughton has been speaking about United's form – and goalscoring captain Jamaal Lascelles – ahead of the televised game.

“Newcastle are in good form at the moment with three wins, and it just goes to show you the margins," said former Newcastle manager Hughton.

“They have a very good centre-half in Jamaal Lascelles who scored two goals from set-plays. That can change the margins.

“As a side, and way that they play, they’re reasonably similar to ourselves, and perhaps that’s why they were close games last season.

“We were very close going right the way through the season.

“We are at home and we have to try and capitalise on our home form.

“But we know that we are up against a very good Newcastle side that are in good form.”

And finally...

A piece of United history will go under the hammer at South Tyneside auctioneers this weekend.

Two turnstiles, which are more than 100 years old, are being auctioned, but they could yet end up on the scrap heap.

For updates from Benitez's press conference, follow NUFC writer Miles Starforth on Twitter here