The Magpies are two points above the relegation zone.

Benitez calls for united Newcastle as club fights to avoid drop

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  • 2019-01-11 23:10:18 10 months ago
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Rafael Benitez has called on Newcastle fans to unite behind the club in their fight to steer clear of relegation.

The Magpies have slipped to within two points of the drop zone after winning only one of their last eight Premier League matches and Benitez senses an air of gloom among supporters.

Talks between a consortium led by former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon and the club over a possible takeover are ongoing, while no players have yet been signed during the transfer window.

“This is a big city and it’s a massive club and some people are thinking ‘you have to do this and you have to do that’,” Benitez said before Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.

“The reality is when we stick together, when we are working hard together, when we are united, we are stronger.

“We saw that in the Championship when we won and we saw that last year when we finished 10th.

“This year, people are saying ‘you will do this, you will do that.’The reality is that we have to stick together to the end.

“It’s very clear for everyone. Fans, players, staff, everyone here. So we have to stay united, we have to keep supporting the players.

“This group of players, they care, they work hard and they fight.

“Sometimes you have a bad game or a bad moment, but the next game is another challenge and we have to be ready.”

Benitez refused to discuss the club’s progress in the transfer window, nor was he willing to comment when asked about his own contract talks.

The Spaniard said he thought his current squad was strong enough to stay up for a second season, but stressed they would only do so if he and his players had the fans’ full backing.

“We saw last year that we can do it, but if we want to do it this year we have to make sure everybody is united,” he said.

“We cannot be wasting energy about the tactics, or substitutions, or the signings, this player is good, this player is bad, because we have what we have and we are what we are.”

Benitez confirmed Federico Fernandez (hip) and Ciaran Clark (ankle) would return to contention for Saturday evening’s clash at Stamford Bridge.

But key midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (thigh) and defender Paul Dummett (hamstring) are expected to miss out.

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Benitez calls for united Newcastle as club fights to avoid drop

Guardiola happy to dream of warm-weather camp as Man City battle on four fronts

Pep Guardiola is happy for the “dream” of a warm-weather training camp to wait as Manchester City pursue glory on four fronts.

City have taken advantage of mid-season gaps in the fixture schedule in previous years to travel to work in Abu Dhabi.

Rivals Manchester United have spent the past week in Dubai but City could not head abroad because they were involved in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Manchester City training
Manchester City do not have many fixture gaps to head for warm-weather training (Mike Egerton/PA)

With one Premier League game already needing to be rearranged, and title-chasing City also continuing in the FA Cup and Champions League, it may not happen this year.

“It would be a dream,” City boss Guardiola said.

“Last season this period was quite similar but after Wigan beat us in the FA Cup we took time to go there.

“But this morning I saw the schedule. The Everton game is going to be fixed in another week. We don’t have many (gaps).

“We will see but hopefully not because that would mean (we) will continue in the FA Cup and especially the Champions League. If we don’t, we will have this time in the summer.”

City are firmly back in the title race after beating Liverpool to cut the Reds’ lead at the top of the table to four points in their crunch clash last week.

With a star-studded squad and the considerable weight of past league successes behind them, City could make life uncomfortable for the Merseysiders but Guardiola feels the crown is still Liverpool’s to lose.

“I prefer to be in Liverpool’s position,” said City boss Guardiola at a press conference to preview Monday’s encounter with Wolves.

City will hope to have Sergio Aguero back to face Wolves after a bout of illness but Gabriel Jesus excelled in his place in Wednesday’s 9-0 thrashing of Burton, scoring four times.

The 21-year-old put his renewed confidence of late down to having his family over to stay from Brazil but they are now due to return home.

Guardiola accepts it can be difficult for youngsters to settle in different countries but has promised that City will be there to support him.

He said: “The players know they are in an incredible club who try to take care of all of us, all the people working in this organisation.

“The private life is the private life and if they need something we are there. We are there to help.

“Of course, we cannot substitute the mother and when the family can’t be there, it’s difficult. They have to handle the situation but of course he is not alone, he has friends.

“He has an incredible relationship with the Brazilian guys, like Danilo, Fernandinho, Eddie (Ederson), Bernardo, many, many players here.

“I think it won’t be a problem for the next months.”

There were suggestions Kevin De Bruyne, who only recently returned from injury, was unhappy about being substituted after 58 minutes against Burton but Guardiola claimed to know little about it.

He said: “I didn’t speak with him.”

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Sarri tells Chelsea to sign ‘two players’ amid links with Higuain, Icardi and Barella

CHELSEA manager Maurizio Sarri admitted he would like to bring in two new players this month - though he is not in charge of transfers.

The Italian spoke ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle this Saturday.

 Sarri wants to sign two players this month

Sarri revealed he wants to sign two players in this months window, but reiterated he is not in charge of the clubs transfers.

Sarri said: "As you know very well I am not in control of the transfer market.

“In my opinion we need two players, but then it is up to the club."

Sarri is reportedly keen to bring in a striker this month, with Gonzalo Higuain linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

 Higuain has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea
 The Argentine had his most prolific season under Sarri at Napoli

Higuain scored a record 36 Serie A goals for Napoli in 2015–16 under Sarri, and it is understood the Chelsea manager is wanting to link up with the Argentine once again.

When asked where Chelsea need to bolster their squad, Sarri said "As you can understand, I cannot tell you.
"The club knows my opinion.

"My opinion is important for the club, but I cannot tell you my opinion.”

Chelsea have also been linked with Mauro Icardi, Callum Wilson and Edinson Cavani as potential names to end their striking problems.

 Wilson is also a target for the Blues

While Alvaro Morata could depart Stamford Bridge with La Liga clubs Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Seville all keen on the ex-Real Madrid forward.

Morata can only be freed from his Chelsea nightmare if the Blues can secure one of their transfer targets.

Sarri said: "Of course if he was to go to another club then we need a replacement.

"But at the moment he is here, he has to think only to play.

"There are 300 players involved in the market and they need to think only to the next match otherwise it is impossible to play.”

Also set to leave Chelsea is midfielder Cesc Fabregas, as the Spaniard edges closer to swapping the Premier League for Ligue One with Monaco close to signing the 31-year-old.

 Morata is a reported target for La Liga sides Sevilla, Atletico, and Barcelona

Sarri admitted he would like to see Fabregas leave Chelsea, however, like his teammate Morata, no deal to leave can be finalised unless a replacement can be found.

He said: "You know very well my opinion, I think he needs to go.

"At the moment for his mental condition. He is not able to play I think.

"I need a replacement, but I don’t need an important player like Cesc unhappy here.”

Chelsea have earmarked Cagliari’s Nicolò Barella and Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes as targets to freshen up their midfield.

 Fabregas has reportedly agreed a deal with Monaco
 Barella is a target for Chelsea

According to The Telegraph, Chelsea have deals in place to sign the pair, but they have not yet decided whether they will go ahead with the deals.

Barcelona wants Alvaro Morata on loan from Chelsea but deal hinges on Denis Suarez agreement

 

 

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