Rafa Benitez outlines the dressing room view of takeover talks at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez is adamant that the ongoing talks over the sale of Newcastle United are NOT a distraction to him and his players.

Owner Mike Ashley put the club up for sale last month.

And Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners have had a bid worth up to £300million rejected by Ashley, who is looking for upwards of £350million for United.

Newcastle have lost their last three Premier League games.

However, the club, which takes on Watford at St James’s Park this afternoon, remains in 11th place.

Asked if the sale of the club was a distraction, Benitez said: “I’m quite pragmatic.

“What can I do? Nothing. So what I have to do is be sure my team’s focused and concentrating on the football.

“I don’t talk to players about that (takeover), because we do not have the information.

“So we talk about the next game. We have a couple in the next few days which are massive for us.

“We can do what we have to do. (We have to) improve in our training sessions and make sure everything’s fine, analyse the last game, prepare for the next one, and know what we have to do to beat Watford

“I understand why I’m being asked about it, but I don’t have any answers.

“(I have to) be sure I’m doing what I have to do to prepare my players for Watford.”

Asked if it was better to have a quick resolution to the sale process, Benitez added: “Yes. Obviously, you know where you are then.

“But, at the moment, we don’t know what will happen, so we have to carry on doing the same things.

“If something happens, then we’ll know and then start working.”

Benitez, for the moment, is focused on improving his 26-player squad.

United’s manager is hopeful he will be able to sign at least one player in January’s transfer window whether the club is sold or not.

Benitez, however, doesn’t believe the club’s top-flight status is dependent on new arrivals.

“My responsibility is to be sure I can improve my players,” said Benitez.

“I don’t need to talk too much about that.

“I’ll be losing energy over something that will happen in one month, whatever, and maybe it doesn’t depend on me.

“I want to be sure that these young players, as I said before, will improve.

“If we have some help in some positions where maybe we need some help, fine.

“If not, what can I do? Still try to improve, because I have the belief that this group of players can stay in the Premier League. My disappointment (after the summer window) was because I was trying to be in the top 10.

“Now it’s just to be sure that we stay in the Premier League and we go as high as possible in the table, because you never know.

“But 1-0 down, 1-0 up, it’s a big difference, and we’re very close, so we have to make sure it is 1-0 up for us.”