Rafa Benitez reacts to Mike Ashley's decision to sell Newcastle – and ongoing takeover talks

Rafa Benitez has reacted to Mike Ashley's decision to formally put Newcastle United up for sale.

A number of potential buyers, including financier Amanda Staveley, have signed non-disclosure agreements.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Benitez, however, would not comment on the prospect of a new owner ahead of tomorrow's Premier League home game against Crystal Palace.

"My opinion is quite clear – we have to play against Crystal Palace this weekend," said United's manager.

"It doesn’t affect me in any way. I was talking with (managing director) Lee Charnley, and he told me everyone was talking about that. He doesn’t have much news.

“I don’t have much interest in what happens in the next two or three months. I'm just focused on what we can do against Crystal Palace. There’s nothing I can do at the moment.

“If it's good or bad, that doesn’t change my approach for the game.

"I will do my best to get what I want from Crystal Palace. We are talking about football concentrating on that. We prepare for the set-pieces and the tactics. We have the influence, and that that’s it."

Benitez added: “You have to understand my position is very simple, clear.

"I am the manager. I try to concentrate on football. I obviously have some ideas, but what I have to do is make sure my players do what they have to do tomorrow.

“I know the fans will be excited. I know everything about the history, the comments, that doesn’t change my opinion.

"My concentration has to be on the players and the preparation.”