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'No chance' of Shelvey leaving Newcastle in January, insists boss Benitez

PA | 2mo
The Spaniard was frustrated by the club's summer transfer business.

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has gagged himself ahead of a potentially pivotal January transfer window – but has insisted Jonjo Shelvey is not up for grabs.

Benitez will send out his side at Watford on Saturday having caused something of a stir last weekend with his claim that it would be "a miracle" if the Magpies retained their Premier League status this season.

That was interpreted as a shot across the bows of owner Mike Ashley ahead of January, with the manager still bemoaning the club's summer transfer dealings, which he believes left them at a disadvantage in the battle for survival, with their rivals having invested heavily.

However, he was maintaining a silence over transfers at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon and insisted it was his decision.

Benitez said: "I don't want to talk about that. If I don't talk about it, then you won't need to analyse every single word I say."

Asked if he was under orders from managing director Lee Charnley to say nothing, he replied: "I was talking to Lee yesterday and talking about the transfer window.

"I prefer not to talk too much, that is it, it is my decision."

Benitez did say enough, however, to rule out letting Shelvey leave next month amid speculation that Fulham are ready to offer skipper Tom Cairney, a long-term Magpies target, for him in a swap deal.

The Spaniard, who did confirm that goalkeeper Rob Elliot will be made available, said: "No. No chance. He's an important player for us.

"Ki [Sung-yueng] and him are the players who technically can pass the ball well and keep it, they give confidence to the rest of the team. I hope he will be as important as he was last year."

In the meantime, Benitez will concentrate on the task of bouncing back from a 4-0 Boxing Day defeat at Liverpool when he sends out his team at Vicarage Road, with Shelvey available after a five-game absence with a thigh injury.

Reflecting upon a bad day at Anfield and looking to what lies ahead, the manager said: "We have to be really concentrated and focused on every single game. We cannot make mistakes.

"If we make mistakes we can lose against anyone and, against the top sides, it makes it even easier to lose.

"Do I have confidence we can do it? Yes. But if we do, it will be because everything is right."



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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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