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Rafa reveals team news ahead of Tottenham trip

Written by Luke Vinton

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benítez confirmed that loan signing Antonio Barecca will be in the squad for the Magpies' Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Italian full-back, who has signed from Ligue 1 side Monaco until the end of the season, is in contention to make his United bow against Spurs on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm GMT).

However, Miguel Almirón will be unavailable to make his eagerly-anticipated debut at Wembley Stadium, with the Paraguayan yet to collect his visa to work in the UK following his move from MLS outfit Atlanta United.

Benítez's injury list is unchanged from United's impressive 2-1 victory against Manchester City on Tuesday but, as well as Almirón, a number of squad members could be ready in time for United's following league game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"(Mohamed) Diamé, (Karl) Darlow and Joselu have all been training but are not ready for the game," Benítez said. "(Paul) Dummett, Ki (Sung-yueng), (Rob) Elliot and (Jonjo) Shelvey are very close and I am quite positive they will hopefully be available against Wolves. Barecca is in the squad but Almirón cannot play (against Tottenham).

"We have players coming back from injury who are very close so what I can see for the next 14 games is that we are better equipped. I am pragmatic, realistic and i think we have the balance and we are in a better position so I'm happier than I was before."

After recording back-to-back home wins in the top flight, Benítez is hopeful for the Magpies to build on their positive momentum as they search for their third successive league win.

And, with the securement of two signings in the January transfer window, Benítez feels both of the new recruits can be important assets for the Magpies' squad.

"They come here with a real desire to do well," he added. "Almirón can play in different positions – as a No. 10, as a winger – and he is an offensive player with pace. Barreca is another good option. For a while, we have been looking for a player on this side.

"I am happier now than I was one week ago. Why? Because we won against Manchester City and we have brought in two players. They bring us something we didn’t have. We needed to fill some gaps in terms of position and characteristic of players.

"They are offensive players and play in a position that we needed so we are better than before because if we have problems, we have them and if they give us what we are expecting, we will be in a better position.

"After Watford, everyone was very negative. After beating Man City, we have won two games at home in a row in the Premier League. Everyone has more confidence now and we have to make sure we keep doing the same."


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Benítez's pre-Tottenham media briefing in full

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