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Benitez: Almiron mentally ready for Premier League challenge

The 24-year-old joined the club from Atlanta United on deadline day.
By Damian Spellman, | 10d

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is confident record signing Miguel Almiron is mentally ready to be pitched into the heat of Premier League battle.

The Paraguay forward, who turned 25 on Sunday, completed a deadline day switch from MLS side Atlanta United as Benitez's pleas for financial support from owner Mike Ashley finally paid dividends.

Benitez knows it will take Almiron time to adapt to a very different brand of football and he is equally aware of the physical demands that will place upon a player who is rich in talent, but slight in stature.

However, the Spaniard is confident the playmaker is ready to take on the challenge, starting with a possible debut at Wolves on Monday evening.

He said: "When you talk with him, he is ready, mentally he is ready and he says he wants to play and is available. You can see him in training, he is very dynamic, he is always involved, so that is fine.

"But it is the Premier League and the physicality and all those things, you have to cope with that. We will see how he feels and the other players are doing.

"We are bringing in a player who was in the MLS, so we know he needs to adapt. But he has the pace, the runs and the ability.

"We will see if he is strong enough to do the same thing as he was doing in the MLS on the ball and without the ball."

Almiron has been recruited to add creativity to a side which has proved defensively resilient, but at times short of inspiration, and his invention could prove crucial over the remaining 13 games of the season with the Magpies having seen their five-point advantage over the bottom three evaporate in the last fortnight.

Benitez said: "He is different to the players we have and that is what we were looking for, running in between the lines and behind the defenders and scoring goals and making passes."

The Magpies manager has resigned himself to the race for survival going all the way to the final game of the season at Fulham, although he is not convinced 40 points will be required to stay up this season.

He said: "Hopefully we can get a result against Wolves, Huddersfield and Burnley. Maybe Fulham, the last game, will be the most important game. Hopefully not, but you never know.

"For me, 36-38 points [will secure safety]."



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411
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