Rafa Benitez Says Magpies Will Have to Sell This Summer But Is Happy With Competition for Places
Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez says he is satisfied with the competition for places in his squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
The former Real Madrid manager admitted to the Chronicle on Sunday after the Magpies' 2-0 victory over Hellas Verona that he was hopeful of more signings although believes several of his players have showed better form this summer.
Christian Atsu is one of those players who has impressed during pre-season and scored United's second goal in the win at St James' Park. When asked if Atsu was a good example of players looking hungry ahead of the upcoming campaign, Benitez said:
"That has to be the way. Everyone has to realise that everybody is trying to create problems for me. If they work hard and train at the level they are at the moment.
"If they work hard then I have to decide. With this I know if I pick one it will be good enough."
Benitez was also relieved that the majority of his Newcastle players got through Sunday's game unscathed and expects Dwight Gayle to be fit to face Tottenham this weekend.
He said: "We had a couple of knocks today but that's it. For Gayle, it is more the feeling, he needs confidence to do what he can do. He is doing everything.
"Now it is a question of confidence so we carry on pushing and training and hopefully he will get his confidence back."
Newcastle fans can expect to see a number of departures before the transfer window shuts - Grant Hanley, Henri Saivet, Tim Krul and Emmanuel Riviere are all up for sale.
"We have to sell - that is obviously necessary," said Benitez.
"We can buy but it depends on the conditions. The majority of them know either directly or through their agents.
"After that we may have offers for them. What we have is a situation everybody knows. For the Championship they're too expensive maybe the Premier League teams will come in for them, that's the reality. We have to manage this reality. When I decided to stay I was expecting another thing.
"Now we are where we are. I decided to stay because of a lot of positive things I could see, starting with the fans. I will try do do my best to be sure that the team we have will be good enough to compete and stay as high as we can in the Premier League. We know what we need and will try do do this until the end of the transfer window."