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Benitez gunning for Old Trafford win but dismisses talk of 'fragile' Manchester United

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NEWS
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169   //    05 Oct 2018, 20:27 IST
mourinho benitez - cropped
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho (L) with Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has dismissed the idea of Manchester United being "fragile" but is nonetheless preparing his Newcastle United side to win at Old Trafford.

A 0-0 Champions League draw with Valencia on Tuesday extended the Red Devils' poor recent run to four games without a victory in all competitions.

They have not won a match at home since the 2-1 victory over Leicester City on the opening day of this season's Premier League, meaning manager Jose Mourinho is under severe pressure to stop the rot with three points against Newcastle on Saturday.

Benitez was not interested in discussing Mourinho's position but is keen for his players to aim for a second successive league win over United, something they have not achieved since October 1972.

"I'm not here to talk about him," Benitez told a news conference when asked about Mourinho. "He's a good manager, but I want to try and concentrate on getting three points if we can.

"In all my time in England, I have never come up against a fragile Man United team. I see a team that could be higher but, like us, it's a question of time. Which teams are at the top? The teams who spent the most. Who is at the bottom? The teams who spent the least."

Newcastle sit third from bottom of the table after seven matches, having failed to win a game of any kind this season.

Benitez, though, is "100 per cent" confident they will avoid dropping back into the Championship.

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"I have a responsibility and I am realistic," he said. "So, if we go to January and everyone is happy, and we do what we need to do, then it will be better for everyone. I have to do what I have to do so that we can win games. I am 100 per cent convinced we will stay up."

Benitez and the Newcastle squad went for a dinner this week with owner Mike Ashley, in which the billionaire is thought to have been eager to strengthen the morale of the group.

But the former Real Madrid boss does not believe there was anything out of the ordinary about the occasion.

"It was a good atmosphere at the meal. It was relaxed, it was fine," said Benitez.

"We were talking about Man United and how difficult a game this will be. I don't see the point to create something out of what was normal."

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