Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Let's Catch the Blues off Guard - Rafa

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Let's Catch the Blues off Guard - Rafa

Article excerpt

RAFA Benitez is hoping Newcastle United can take advantage of a Birmingham City side that is currently in a transitional period.

The Magpies boss is good friends with Gianfranco Zola and knows the former Chelsea star well from the football circuit.

But he feels that Zola will be focused on getting the Blues into the play-offs.

Benitez told the Chronicle: "I met him at West Ham and also when I was in Italy.

"We have mutual friends and he's a nice person and was a fantastic player.

"I think he's trying to change things. Hopefully, he will consider the top six as a priority and will be focused on the league. We will approach the game well."

Benitez will make changes for the game at Birmingham and Massadio Haidara, Grant Hanley and Aleksandar Mitrovic will all be in contention.

When asked about his priorities with Newcastle currently in mixed form in the Sky Bet Championship, Benitez said: "For our fans it's important to progress and it's exciting for them so we have to try (in the cup). …

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