Rafael Benitez not interested in renewing Jose Mourinho rivalry
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is more worried about Manchester United's players than his rivalry with Jose Mourinho as the pair prepare to go head-to-head in the Premier League once again.
The two managers, who have both been in charge at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, have at times been on less than friendly terms in the past after becoming embroiled in a series of spats. The duo's rivalry first came about when Mourinho was at Chelsea and Benitez at Liverpool.
However, Benitez has spent the international break preparing for what will happen on the pitch on Saturday against United as opposed to the sidelines as he attempts to bounce back from successive league defeats.
He said: "We will play against Manchester United. It's not the key, one manager or the two managers. Mourinho has won a lot of trophies in different countries with a lot of teams, so he's a good manager, and that's it.
"We will play against Manchester United and I am really concerned about [Romelu] Lukaku, [Juan] Mata, [Ander] Herrera, [Nemanja] Matic, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial -- that's my main concern.''
Mourinho suggested earlier this week that the war of words between the two men arose because they were fighting each other for major prizes at the time, and Benitez said he would have no problem sharing a postmatch glass of wine with his old adversary.
He said: "I don't have any problem to do with any one because I'm a professional and I know my job."
Benitez will head for Old Trafford without injured duo Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu, but still determined to halt a slide which has seen his team collect only five of the last 18 points on offer after a promising start to the campaign.
He said: "We are a newly promoted club that has to settle down in the Premier League. We have a young squad, so it's a learning process for everyone and losing some games is part of the process.
"Hopefully we can stop that this weekend, but we know it has to be like this. We have to think that the target is to stay in the Premier League, then after try to go as high as we can in the table.
"I have been asked about 40 points -- we have already 14 and if we come out of the first part of the season with 20, we can be optimistic.''