Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez prepared to park the bus against Manchester United

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez prepared to park the bus against Manchester United

Lindsey Duncan
February 11, 2018

That hard run starts this weekend with the hosting of Manchester United, where Newcastle can find inspiration in the fact that Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has never tasted victory at St. James' Park. "But I try and I make an effort and I'm happy with the way things are going".

And Mourinho, speaking ahead of his side's trip to Newcastle United on Sunday, noted that the Englishman's recent displays have merited a new deal at Old Trafford.

"So, I think the natural outcome is that he will have his [new] contract and he will be a Manchester United player for years".

'Now I prepare myself and I am very happy, I am not free of losing my temper or my control in one match.

Paul Pogba was also praised for his professional attitude after being dropped for the game against Huddersfield last week.

"I like to go there, I like the feeling of being at Mr [Bobby] Robson's home, I like the stadium, it is really nice and I like the atmosphere, they are good and enthusiastic".

That knock has prevented him from making his Newcastle debut so far but Benitez has not given up hope of his latest acquisition being ready in time for the visit of Jose Mourinho's side. "This is a different game".

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Mourinho said: "They're a good team, they have a very good transfer window with Kenedy and [Islam] Slimani - two players I know well and who can improve their team".

A 2-0 victory over Huddersfield last week, in which new signing Alexis Sanchez was outstanding, helped United make minor inroads into Manchester City's colossal lead, although the gap was still 13 points going into this weekend's fixtures.

Such factors have not stopped Mourinho from believing Newcastle will stay up because it is a "club with an army of fans who live for the club".

And given this is Newcastle's first campaign back in the top-flight after winning the Championship, Benitez would be more than satisfied to keep them up come May - particularly having not had the sort of cash to spend to really make an impression in the top tier.

"In relation to his best position, I had a few laughs over the past few weeks because I heard, I watch, I had the chance to read a few things and I'm not English but I think I understand English enough to understand what you want to say with box-to-box", our boss said during the pre-match press conference. "They know how to get the points to stay in the division".

Jose Mourinho is still without Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini through injury.