Rafa Benitez reveals his FA Cup policy at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says he’s yet to decide if he’ll attack the FA Cup this season.

The draw for the third round of the competition will be made on Monday night.

We won’t play the Under-21s. No, we will play a strong team trying to progress, using this squad.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United have had a dismal record in the FA Cup since Mike Ashley bought the club 11 years ago.

Benitez knows fans want him to field a strong team in the competition, but United’s manager will wait before deciding how to approach the cup.

Asked if he would target success in the FA Cup, Benitez said: “It will be easy to say ‘yes’ and have a headline ‘going for the cup’.

“Take one game at a time, play some games, see where we are. See how many players we have available.

“If you do not have injuries, and we go to January and you have the whole squad available, will I play the best players because I want to win the FA Cup?

“Maybe you give the others a chance. We won’t play the Under-21s. No, we will play a strong team trying to progress, using this squad.

“It’s a strong one with everyone available. Like now, we have everyone almost available.

“Now if we go to January and we play (Florian) Lejeune, for instance. Is that bad or good?

“Some people will say Lejeune was one of the best players last year.

“But he’s not playing yet. Bad or good? Maybe we will have to give him some minutes. That would be good.”

United defender Florian Lejeune is back in training just over four months after have surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.