Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez focusing on Palace game rather than takeover talk

Ross Houston
October 20, 2017

Tyneside has been buzzing since Monday's announcement that owner Mike Ashley had placed the club on the market, and in the days since, several potential investors have joined a number who had already signed non-disclosure agreements in registering a formal interest.

"I was loved by the fans (at Newcastle) and the manager was getting the best out of me, but at the end of the day I needed Premier League football at this stage in my career. The fans will be excited of course but that will not have influence on how I behave". I am just focused on what we can do against Crystal Palace.

Palace visits Newcastle on Saturday hoping to build on last week's shock 2-1 defeat of Premier League champions Chelsea, during which - in their eighth match - they earned their first points of the season. Joining the first Premier League that came along, rather than helping to put right the relegation that he was partly responsible for.

"I'm not sure I'll get a good reception but I had a fantastic time there", Townsend told British media.

"But I believe, like all coaches, that football is a team game and much as you need your top-class players, it's unfair to suggest that if we are going to get ourselves out of trouble it's got to be down to one man".

He said: "If I made a decision to stay, it was because the potential of the club, the city, it is massive".

"Gayle had a little problem with the calf - it's not serious - but he's not ready for this game", said Benitez. It will be a hard game - we have to try and put pressure on them. But, for a moment, we want you to leave aside your loyalties: what about those sitting opposite you in the away section, or the best you've heard and seen on your travels?

"It's always a chore or a challenge going up there, however well they are playing".

Palace's inspiration against Chelsea came through Wilfried Zaha, who scored the victor and turned in an electric performance up front in his first game since the opening day.

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