Published: Mon, January 15, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Rafa Benitez delivers blunt message as Newcastle drop down the table

Rafa Benitez delivers blunt message as Newcastle drop down the table

"It is not just if you score goals - everybody is expecting that a striker has to score goals - but in a team like us that might not create as many chances as you want, then they have to work hard".

Alfie Mawson and Jamaal Lascelles have been fantastic for their sides this season, their partners however, haven't been. "We are not thinking of selling players that are playing already".

"It could be better, because we could have avoided some of the goals we've conceded and we could have taken some of our chances", said Benitez.

"Swansea also need new players but I don't know who they will be able to sign that could make a difference and, from the sounds of it, neither does their new manager Carlos Carvalhal".

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The likes of Gary Cahill, John Stones and Phil Jones have provided the backbone of Southgate's defence in recent months with Michael Keane, Harry Maguire and Ben Gibson among those to have come under consideration.

Progress on incoming signings remains painfully slow, with a loan deal for Chelsea midfielder Kenedy now the brightest prospect, and in the meantime the manager is concentrating only on today's home clash with Swansea and the task of easing the club further clear of the drop zone. "No, it will be a massive game for them and a massive game for us". He's not now in the squad, but if they have a couple of problems, maybe he could be there.

Swansea have doubts over Tammy Abraham (hip) and Renato Sanches (hamstring) for the trip to Newcastle.

However, South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng could return after a month out with a calf injury.

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Asked if that probe had proved a distraction, Benitez said: "No, and it's an ongoing investigation and I will not talk about that".

"Let's see game by game".

"It will not happen in two days or two weeks".

Meanwhile, Swansea's win at Watford in their last Premier League away game ended a run of seven straight defeats on the road - they last won back-to-back away games in the competition in January 2017 against Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

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