Rafa Benitez close to finalising Newcastle’s starting XI for Fulham opener

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez is close to finalising his team for Newcastle United’s season-opener against Fulham.

Benitez’s side beat Southend United 2-0 at Roots Hall last night.

Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran were on target against Phil Brown’s side.

And United manager Benitez felt it was a “solid performance” from his team, which is unbeaten so far in pre-season.

The club wraps up its pre-season campaign with a home game against Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday.

“It was a solid performance,” said Benitez.

We gave 60 minutes to the majority of the players and we will try to do similar things on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez

“We needed to do the job.

“The first half, they were a little bit better physically, but little by little we were controlling the game and we were just trying to play counter-attack.

“As soon as we scored the first goal, it was clear that they needed to take more risks and we could manage it a bit better.

“We have to improve. It was a solid performance – the team was fine – but still we have to improve and hopefully we can adjust two or three things in one week and we will be a little bit better.”

Benitez is close to finalising his starting XI for the club’s visit to Craven Cottage on August 5.

Asked about his team selection for the Fulham game, he said: “We will see.

“We gave 60 minutes to the majority of the players and we will try to do similar things on Saturday.”