Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was in flying form when met the Irish media today in his team’s base at county Kildare’s Carton House today.
His Newcastle side will face League of Ireland outfit Bohemians at Dalymount Park tomorrow, but he admitted that pre-season results are not be his main priorities at this stage. “I’m not really worried about the games that we have in pre-season. I am more worried about my team. I want to see a good performance, and hopefully we win, but I want us to play well and hopefully the fans have a good time, especially our fans! But it’s just part of pre-season and what I want is for the team to be ready for August.
“Tomorrow is an opportunity for us to see how everything we’ve done during this week [in Ireland] affects us on the pitch. I think it will be a competitive game.”
Benitez’ squad appeared settled when we watched them train at the countryside hotel, which has also hosted many international sides as well as Real Madrid, who completed a similar week’s training camp prior to Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut in 2009. While there may be one or two players still to come in, as well as the returns of Moussa Sissoko from the Euros and Tim Krul from injury, the Spaniard seems content with his current crop of players.
“Now it seems with the TV contracts everybody has more money, so my job is to keep players from moving and maybe buy some… But I am happy so far.”
He also noted the changes in the sport because of finances and believes that it makes managers more alert. “The game has changed a lot and you have to be careful because now you have to be quick when you want to sign a player. But [Newcastle] is a big club. You see players who want to come here or stay here and they turn down offers from Premiership clubs. That was very important, and another reason why I decided to stay because you can see we want to build something and become even bigger in the future.”
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