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West Ham talks for midfielder are over, now wanted by 'bigger clubs'

26 Août 2017

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has ruled out defenders Florian Lejeune (ankle) and DeAndre Yedlin (hamstring), plus goalkeeper Karl Darlow (knock).

Benitez said: "It's as important for us as for them".

"I want to play, but it depends on me. He and the staff have been working really hard on strengthening his core and, from what he has shown in training, the hard work is paying off".

"Nothing else matters. If some stuff happens outside, it can maybe affect us in - how can I say it - our preparations for the game, but as soon as you step on the pitch, you are playing football, trying to score goals and win games". It was a game that we were expecting to win - we didn't do it and we have to be ready for the next one.

But, ahead of West Ham's visit to St James' Park on Saturday, Benitez, who has been linked with the London club amid speculation that current boss Slaven Bilic could lose his job, has called for calm.

Since Newcastle got promoted back in May, minimal euphoria has come out the club, which has continued through into the start of their season.

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The Spaniard made 10 changes for the midweek Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest and saw his understudies bow out of the competition in a 3-2 extra-time defeat on Tyneside.

Newcastle last lost their opening two Premier League games in 1999 - but recovered to finish 11th that season.

Will it be Newcastle or West Ham?

However the league table looks even worse if you're a West Ham fan.

The seven goals conceded by West Ham is the most they have let in after two matches of a league campaign since 1988-89. "Getting three points in the next league game is our objective, our target".

West Ham talks for midfielder are over, now wanted by 'bigger clubs'