Rafa Benitez reflects on the benefits of Newcastle's Spain trip as United sign off five-day camp with CSKA Moscow draw plus Almiron & Barreca assessed

Rafa Benitez believes the timing of Newcastle United's warm weather training camp could not have come at a better time for his January signings.

By Liam Kennedy
Saturday, 16th February 2019, 4:04 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th February 2019, 4:15 pm
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

The arrival of Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca has given Benitez's squad the boost it so badly needed headed into Premier League relegation run in - but the difference in the role the two news boys will play is likely to be stark.

The Gazette understands that Italian Barreca, signed at the end of the window, is seen by Benitez as a squad player, with Matt Ritchie and Paul Dummett still ahead of the Monaco loan man in the United pecking order.

But Benitez obviously sees Almiron as a player who can make an instant impact.

And after getting 45 minutes under his belt against CSKA Moscow this morning, the Paraguayan comes into contention for a starting spot against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Benitez believes the La Finca trip is just what the duo needed as they integrate into the United squad.

"It was a good game," he said of the 1-1 draw.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

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"After five days with double training sessions it was good to give everyone 45 minutes. You could see the tempo was good.

"I am happy with a lot of things but I think we could have won the game. We had a lot of chances.

"But overall it is a positive because the new players Barreca and Almiron know the players around them.

"Obviously when you have games, it is hard but we had this chance just after the transfer window, so it worked out good for everybody."

Last year United returned from their camp in Murcia and went on a run which eventually saw them see off the threat of relegation with a month to spare.

Benitez is hopeful United can do the same again this time around.

"If we can win some games like we did last year then that would be perfect.

"We have some massive games against Huddersfield, Burnley and West Ham coming up. We know that if we do well in these games we can win.

"But at the end of the day we have to play to our level, we have to deal with the pressure then approach the games with the confidence we had last year."