Rafa Benitez explains why he's taking his Newcastle players to Spain

Rafa Benitez says he no concerns about the behaviour of his Newcastle United players ahead of a training camp in Spain.

Saturday, 10th March 2018, 5:43 am
Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid
Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid

Benitez plans to take his players away next week for a behind-closed-doors friendly.

The proposed fixture, which could be against Royal Antwerp, will fill a 21-day gap in the relegation-threatened club’s Premier League fixture list.

“I don’t usually like to take everyone away from their families,” said United manager Benitez.

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“But, because 21 days without a game is too long, we will have a match against a team who will be competitive.

“So we have an option in Spain, from Thursday until Sunday. We will train and then play Sunday.”

Four West Bromwich Albion players got into trouble over a late-night incident in Barcelona last month during a training camp organised by manager Alan Pardew.

Benitez, however, insists that he trusts his players.

“If we go there, it’s because we have to play a game against a competitive team,” said Benitez.

“We will train and try to keep everyone together.

“The good thing is that the complex where we’ll be, it is not in the middle of the town, so they have to stay there, relax and focus on football.”

Benitez was Liverpool manager when Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise had a bust-up after a night out in Portugal ahead of a Champions League tie against Barcelona.

“I have not had big problems with my teams, although the most famous was in Portugal with Liverpool, where we had a few problems,” said Benitez. “Although we then beat Barcelona.”

On Newcastle’s trip, Benitez added: “We have everything under control. After, you never know. But now, everything is under control.

“They can drink water, no problem.”