Rafael Benitez explains why he can't play Newcastle's best XI

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Arvind Sriram

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is under some pressure ahead of his side's clash against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. Having picked up a solitary point from three Premier League games thus far, the Carabao Cup might just be Newcastle's ray of hope in what is poised to be a season filled with doom and gloom. However, Benitez has stated that despite aiming for a long run in the competition, he is unlikely to start his full strength squad against Nottingham.

With the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie all unavailable due to injury, Benitez is expected to ring the changes for tonight's game.

“First of all, because we have some injuries. Second of all, because we don’t want to play too many players in three days – for example Ritchie has a knock on his knee, so he cannot play – but some of these players, they were coming back from the World Cup and they were not fit. They have to play, if not they will not be fit ever, because the match fitness is something you only get playing games. These players have to play in these games in order to get that match fitness," Benitez explained.

“Some people say ‘at this stage of the season, you cannot be tired, you can play games, and maybe in April you can be rested.' But the time it takes you to recover, you need at least three days. If you don’t have that time to recover, you lose something. Even if you have the passion, even if you are fit, you lose a little bit. That is a scientific fact, it’s not just my opinion," the Newcastle manager went on to add.

Benitez also explained that a lack of activity in the transfer window is one of the main reasons for Newcastle's depleted squad, which will impact their progress in the cup competitions.

"Yes, clearly. You have to manage your squad. Depending on the transfer window, your squad is stronger or not. You have to manage the team. You cannot forget that this one has a knock, this one has a problem or this one is tried, or this one will recover more quickly or this one needs more time."

Newcastle travel to Nottingham later today to take on a Forest team that are similarly low on confidence, having won just one of their five Championship games thus far, and a win would go a long way in helping shape their season.

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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