Newcastle United not selling Atsu and Co

Tight tussle Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles and Jordan Ayew of Swansea battle for the ball

Tight tussle Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles and Jordan Ayew of Swansea battle for the ball Getty Images

Benitez, mindful of the sensitivity of owner Mike Ashley to some of his comments about transfers, has toned down his rhetoric over the past fortnight.

Newcastle moved a little away from the relegation fray while dimming Swansea's hope of English Premier League survival in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Asked if Lascelles, who has recovered from the adductor injury he suffered last weekend, could be considered as being on a par with that latter group, Benitez said: "For me, for sure".

The noise was muffled; Newcastle's support grumbled its way out of St James' Park at full-time and into its city. It is something Benitez is desperate to change, but Ashley remains reluctant to give him any more money to improve the squad unless he sells players first to make room on the payroll. "And in January you need a lot of money to convince players to come here". We have had some people asking but nothing serious and no offers on any of our players.

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"And we wouldn't loan out if we do not have options to replace them".

I must be honest, I didn't see it - I said to the referee I didn't see it - but with the technology that we have at the moment, after one minute my assistant said it was a clear penalty and a red card.

"We are talking with agents but can not push too much".

"We have to work with the names we have, and try to do our best in the conditions we are working in".

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Swansea remain bottom of the table with 16 games left to play, four points from safety and six behind Rafael Benitez's Magpies in 13th place.

He said: "It is a team that has a new manager and is doing well". They look quite organised, disciplined in defence and hard to breakdown.

That Newcastle scrambled a point in a game they should have won but could have lost was down to an unlikely hero. It will be a tough game for us.

He said: "We can not sell players that are playing because we would have to replace them for better players and, in January, we would need a lot of money to convince players to come here. A massive game for them, a massive game for us".

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