Rafa Benitez’s No 2 reveals how Newcastle’s stricken manager is still pulling the strings at the club

Moreno and Benitez
Moreno and Benitez

Francisco de Miguel Moreno says Rafa Benitez can help mastermind a victory over Swansea City – whether he’s at the Liberty Stadium or not.

Benitez could miss Sunday’s Premier League game as he recovers from an operation.

However, United’s manager, resting at his family home on Merseyside, has been heavily involved in preparing for the fixture.

Fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno took yesterday’s pre-match press conference.

And De Miguel’s confident that, with Benitez’s input from afar, the work done on the training field will have prepared the team for the game.

“Obviously, he’s the man,” said De Miguel.

I know it will be difficult for him. I know also that he’s confident everything’s OK here.

Francisco de Miguel Moreno

“Normally, the way he works and the way he does things, is important for us.

“But, I think the message is quite clear. So even if it’s me or whoever – one of the staff members – they (the players) will listen in the same way.

“It will be the same. Although, obviously, it’s not quite the same if Rafa says something or Paco says something. It’s totally different.”

Asked if it had been strange not having Benitez around, De Miguel said: “Yes, but not too much.

“Our daily work does not change too much. We are preparing things in the same way.

“He’s more focused on the ideas and analysing situations, but, because we are in touch with him, he’s always saying ‘pay attention on this and this and this’.

“So we’re continuing his ideas, even when he’s not here.”

De Miguel and his colleagues have kept the players informed about Benitez’s recovery.

“They have updates every day from us,” said De Miguel.

“We inform them about the situation and how he is.

“Obviously, Rafa’s in contact with everybody, so they know what is going on.”

Benitez has been in constant contact with his backroom team since his operation.

‘I know it will be difficult for him,” said De Miguel.

“I know also that he’s confident everything’s OK here.”