Rafa Benitez moving forward at Newcastle on need-to-know basis as takeover talks progress

Rafa Benitez says he’s happy to be kept out of the loop over the sale of Newcastle United.

Owner Mike Ashley formally put the club on the market this week.

And talks are ongoing with a number of interested parties, including finacier Amanda Staveley, who met Benitez after the club’s last home game against Liverpool.

United manager Benitez insists he’s focused on the club’s Premier League fixtures – and not a change of ownership.

Benitez is being kept informed by managing director Lee Charnley, but he is not looking for detailed briefings.

“I was talking with Lee, and anyway, I was telling him I don’t need to know all the details, because it won’t change anything for me on a daily basis,” said Benitez, whose side take on Crystal Palace at St James’s Park this afternoon.

Staveley – who runs PCP Capital Partners – attempted to buy Liverpool during Benitez’s tenure at Anfield.

Asked how well he knew Staveley, Benitez said: “Not too much. I’ve met her twice, I think.”

Staveley is understood to have signed a non-disclosure agreement following preliminary talks with the club’s hierarchy.

The 44-year-old reportedly values the club at around £300million.

Ashley is looking for closer to £400million.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-23s were beaten 2-0 by Blackburn Rovers in a Premier League 2 game last night.

Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons and Freddie Woodman were handed starts at Whitley Park. Rovers took a first-half lead when a deflected cross from Connor Thomson looped over Woodman.

And substitute Callum Wright netted a second for Blackburn in the 81st minute.

Peter Beardsley’s side – who take on Sparta Prague at Whitley Park on Tuesday night – are without a win in their last seven games in all competitions.

NEWCASTLE UNITED UNDER-23s: Woodman, Sterry, Cameron, Colback (Yarney, 75), O’Connor, Gillesphey, C Smith, Barlaser, Heardman (Sangare, 72), McNall, Aarons.