By 90Min
February 25, 2019

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has admitted he is 'under pressure' in terms of his team selections, with an almost fully fit squad meaning several players are being omitted from the squad entirely.

With only Ciaran Clark and Rob Elliot sidelined for the Magpies, Benitez was forced to leave

Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Yoshinori Muto, Federico Fernandez, Antonio Barreca and Karl Darlow at home in his side's 2-0 over Huddersfield on Saturday.

Speaking to The Chronicle, Benitez admitted he is feeling the heat being tasked with leaving players out, as the Spaniard looks to steer his side further away from relegation.

"My problem now is that the players who aren't in the team have put me under pressure to make decisions," he said.

"It's a pity but obviously you can pick only 18 players and some have to wait. Jonjo, we'll see [if he's ready for Tuesday]. Obviously the match fitness is an issue at this stage. He [Longstaff] did well. Obviously against 10 players he has more time on the ball and he was managing this time the ball really well. His shot that hit the bar was a real pity because it was a great effort."

Stu Forster/GettyImages

One recurring absentee from the Magpies' matchday squad is Muto, the £9.5m signing has not started a league game for Newcastle since Boxing Day and failed to make any squad since returning from Asian Cup duty. However, the 58-year-old insists the Japanese forward can still push for a starting berth.

He added: "He's doing well and training well. In his case we needed another one just in case to play as a second-striker but we're pleased with him, he's very positive, is always working really hard, but he has to keep working hard to get in the team.

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