Benitez issues warning to Newcastle players

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has warned his players they may not walk into another big-name club if the worst should happen this season.

Newcastle United Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez Source: AAP



Disgruntled fans have accused some members of the squad Benitez inherited from Steve McClaren of not caring as much as they do, and suggested they will look to jump ship and head off for another lucrative pay-day should the Magpies be relegated from the Premier League.

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The Spaniard does not believe that is the case, but knows that relegation on a player's CV will do little to enhance his reputation.

He said: "It's difficult, but at the same time it's very simple. They know that we are responsible for the situation, they know that the next year if something is wrong, they have to do their best to change things.

"It will not be easy to say, 'Oh I will go.' They lose value, the players lose value. I don't think that anyone wants to go down because it will be bad for everyone if we go down.

"It's not just the CV. Because we are professionals it is the CV, the money, everything, so it's not easy when you're not doing well at your job to get a better job than where you are now."

Benitez insists he has not had to spell this situation out to his players as they prepares for this weekend's trip to Norwich City, a game which could have a major say in where they are playing their football next season.

If they win and the go level on points with the Canaries with seven games remaining, although if they lose, they will be six adrift of the one club they and neighbours Sunderland can realistically catch.

To make matters worse, they will travel without their first and second-choice goalkeepers with Rob Elliot having joined Tim Krul on the long-term casualty list - Karl Darlow will take over for the remainder of the campaign - and with no specialist left-back.

Even Jack Colback, who deputised against the Black Cats last time out, is unavailable as he starts a two-match ban, and fellow midfielder Moussa Sissoko is likely to start where he finished the derby on 20 March.

It is not a position in which the France international has played too often in his career, but Benitez is confident he is up for the challenge.

He said: "I had a conversation with him yesterday and said, 'Listen, you are so important, even if you have to play as a striker or a keeper or maybe as a left fullback', so yesterday we were practising with him in this position.

"If you ask him, 'What do you prefer?', he would say he wants to play as a number 10 or a winger or whatever. But he knows he is a key player for us and if he has to do it, he will do it."


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3 min read
Published 2 April 2016 at 8:30am
By Damian Spellman
Source: PA Sport