Rafa Benitez says he's spoken to Jonjo Shelvey since returning to Newcastle United.
The midfielder was an unused substitute against his former club Swansea City last week after returning from a three-game ban.
Shelvey – who has played just 48 minutes of football so far this season – is expected to again be on the bench for tomorrow's home game against Stoke City.
Benitez spoke to Shelvey after returning to work following a recent operation.
United's manager said: “I had a conversation with him yesterday to tell him I know he is a good player and that he has to compete for his position in the best way possible now.
"He understands the message. Every player wants to play, but he understands."
Loan signing Mikel Merino, chosen ahead of Shelvey, was outstanding at the Liberty Stadium, where Newcastle won 1-0 thanks to a goal from captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Shelvey played 90 minutes for United's Under-23s against Norwich City at St James's Park on Monday night.
The 25-year-old refused to speak to the media after the 2-2 draw.