Rafa warns of Swansea threat
Written by Tom Easterby
Rafa Benítez has warned his Newcastle United side not to take Swansea City lightly when the two teams meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The Swans arrive on Tyneside this weekend sitting bottom of the Premier League table and four points from safety, with the Magpies six points better off in 13th.
Carlos Carvalhal has replaced Paul Clement as manager of the Welsh side, and have lost just one of the three games since he took charge.
And while Benítez wants United to build on their encouraging start to 2018, he says his charges should not underestimate Swansea, who they beat 1-0 in the reverse fixture back in September.
“It’s a long season. We have to carry on winning games if we want to be sure that we achieve what we want to achieve – it’s not just for a couple of games. It’s good for the mood, but now we have an important game and we have to be sure that the team approaches the game with the same mentality we did in the last games,” he said.
“They have a new manager, and in the last games that we have seen, they are quite organised, quite disciplined in defence and hard to break down. I think it’s important that we don’t lose the game, but (approach it) with the mentality that we have to get three points and we have to win.
“But it’s not a team that are giving up already and think that they are relegated – no chance. They are working hard, doing well, and it will be a tough game for us.”
Benítez confirmed on Friday that captain Jamaal Lascelles – along with goalkeeper Rob Elliot – would be fit for the Swans clash, despite having been forced off in last weekend’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Luton Town.
“I think its important for us, not just because he has scored some important goals. Hes the captain, hes a leader, hes working very hard and a good expale for everyone,” he said of centre half Lascelles.
“We have Gámez, Lejeune and Mitrovic (out), who has been running today. These three are not available, but Mitrovic is closer.”
And the Spaniard added that work is ongoing with regard to recruitment during the January transfer window.
“We are working on that, but no news at the moment,” he said.
"It’s a long season. We have to carry on winning games if we want to be sure that we achieve what we want to achieve."