Manager Rafael Benitez takes Newcastle United to Huddersfield Town on Sunday well aware that the Yorkshire club have been busier in the transfer market than his own since both ascended to the Premier League from the Championship in May.
The experienced Benitez has been frustrated not to have secured more players, while Huddersfield, the Championship playoff winners, reaped the benefit of their spending with a stunning 3-0 win away to Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of the season.
“Huddersfield did really well the other day, and it will be a tough game,” Benitez told reporters on Friday. “What I have to do is concentrate on what we can do now, and make sure the players are ready for this game. I think we know how they play and they know how we play.
“If we do well, we’ll have more confidence for the next games.” Despite suffering a 2-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur after midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was sent off, Benitez said the players have remained upbeat.
“The mood is positive, the team has been working very hard. They know what is going on. As they say in English, you must walk the walk.”
Newcastle’s army of travelling fans will see a number of changes, as Shelvey is suspended and defenders Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett were both injured against Spurs.
Two new signings could play – German midfielder Mikel Merino from Borussia Dortmund and Spanish forward Joselu. “You’ve not seen too much of him at Stoke, but he’s played in top leagues,” Benitez said of his countryman Joselu. “He has a lot of potential.”
The former Under-21 international played for Stoke City in the 2015-16 season, scoring four times, and was then loaned to Deportivo La Coruna last season.
Asked about further transfers before the deadline, Benitez said it would depend on how many players left. He added that the rare interview club owner Mike Ashley gave to Sky Sports “didn’t change anything on what I think.”