Rafa Benitez reveals who he really wants to play in Newcastle United's friendly against CSKA Moscow

Rafa Benitez hopes his Newcastle United players return to Tyneside even closer together.

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez has taken his squad to Spain for a five-day training camp during a two-week break between Premier League fixtures.

Newcastle will play CSKA Moscow on Saturday at the Pinatar Arena, Murcia, ahead of the February 23 home game against Huddersfield Town.

Benitez hopes to integrate new signings Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca into his squad during the camp.

“With the new players, they will know the others,” said United’s manager.

“We will try to work in the way that we want to work, and then everybody will understand exactly what we are trying to do.

“Hopefully, it will be a good atmosphere and a good time training.”

Benitez welcomed a number of players back from injury ahead of Monday night’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

And the CSKA fixture will allow the likes of Mohamed Diame, Paul Dummett and Ki Sung-yueng to get valuable minutes on the pitch.

“I was thinking before that it was an opportunity for players, after one week, to show something,” said Benitez.

“But even more importantly, we have had some players out with injuries, and the new players, so it will be an opportunity for them to play with the others and see how they can improve their match fitness.”

Diame made his comeback from injury in the Wolves game, which ended 1-1 to leave Newcastle 16th in the Premier League and a point above the relegation zone.

“Some of them have been injured for a while,” Benitez told NUFC TV.

“They can have some minutes under their belts, and it will be good for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Benitez was pleased with Almiron’s performance on his debut at Molineux.

“He was giving us energy and fresh legs, and that was important at this time,” said Benitez.