Can We Emulate Italians?

Rafael Benitez believes Newcastle United have the potential to emulate his former club Napoli and become a team that consistently competes in Europe – but only if they sign the right players.

Image result for Napoli FC

Benitez spent two seasons in charge of Napoli before leaving to take charge of Real Madrid in 2015.

The Spaniard oversaw a huge overhaul of Napoli's squad after arriving in 2013, signing a large number of players who became key contributors, including Dries Mertens, Pepe Reina, Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol, Jose Callejon, Faouzi Ghoulam, and Jorginho.

The following summer, he bought Kalidou Koulibaly and Manolo Gabbiadini, among others.

Those signings helped Napoli to establish themselves as a force in Serie A, and they have finished outside the top three just once in the past six seasons.

Benitez believes Newcastle have similar potential.

"The debate is quite simple. We have to buy good players," Benitez said at his press conference ahead of Friday's game against Leicester City, which is live on Sky Sports.

"When I signed for Napoli, the president Aurelio De Laurentiis had ambition, and he wanted to improve. He wanted to go to Europe and be there every year.

Image result for Napoli FC

"So we signed Reina, Higuain, [Raul] Albiol, Mertens, Callejon, with money from [Edinson] Cavani. Selling Cavani got us around €60m (£51.7m).

"The year after, we signed [Kalidou] Koulibaly and Jorginho. Just by selling Higuain and Jorginho, the club got €140m (£120.6m), so it was a massive profit. And they still have Koulibaly and all these players, and you know the prices of these players.

"They have guaranteed in the last four years to be in Europe - either in the Europa League or the Champions League.

"That means when you have the potential, you can do that. You can see the potential here. That is what you are looking for."

While Benitez may believe Newcastle have the potential to consistently qualify for European football, their immediate focus is remaining in the Premier League.

Rafael Benitez believes Newcastle United need to get to 40 points to be sure of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

Benitez has set the Magpies a points target of 40 to be sure of survival, and he says the club cannot afford to think about transfers until that is achieved.

"Until the end of the season, you do not know what is going on - whether you will be stay in the Premier League or [be relegated] to the Championship," Benitez said.

Benitez's own future at Newcastle remains unclear.

His contract expires at the end of the season, and the 58-year-old said last week he is "waiting for an answer" over his future after holding talks with the club.

He confirmed on Friday he has not yet received one.

"It is exactly the same situation. We are waiting," Benitez said.

Asked if it was fair to assume he had not heard from the club since last week, Benitez replied: "Yes."

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Leicester City (A)
Southampton (H) 
Brighton and Hove Albion (A)
Liverpool (H)
Fulham (A)

Image result for Newcastle v Cardiff

NEWCASTLE 0 CRYSTAL PALACE 1
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune (Dummett 65), Ritchie (Atsu 90), Pérez, Hayden, Ki Sung-yueng (Shelvey 76), Almirón, Rondón
Subs: Muto, Fernandez, Manquillo, Darlow

ARSENAL 2 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Pérez (Muto 77), Hayden (Ki Sung-yueng 67), Diamé, Almirón, Rondón
Subs: Shelvey, Fernandez, Manquillo, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 3 EVERTON 2
Dubravka, Schär, Lascelles (Dummett 45), Lejeune, Yedlin, Hayden, Ki Sung-yueng (Shelvey 79), Ritchie (Kenedy 73), Pérez, Rondón, Almirón
Subs: Diamé, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow

WEST HAM 2 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schär (Dummett 65), Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Pérez, Longstaff (Diamé 45), Hayden (Atsu 79), Almirón, Rondón
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Muto, Yedlin, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 2 BURNLEY 0
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Pérez (Joselu 87), Hayden, Longstaff (Diamé 85), Almirón (Dummett 80), Rondón
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Yedlin, Darlow, Atsu

NEWCASTLE 2 HUDDERSFIELD 0 (Rondon, Perez)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy 68), Pérez, Hayden, Longstaff, Almirón (Atsu 81), Rondón (Joselu 84)
Subs: Dummett, Ki Sung-yueng, Manquillo, Woodman

SPURS 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Barreca 86), Pérez, Longstaff, Hayden, Atsu (Kenedy 82), Rondón
Subs: Clark, Fernandez, Manquillo, Joselu, Woodman

NEWCASTLE 2 MAN CITY 1 (Rondon, Ritchie (p))
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Pérez (Manquillo 90+1), Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kenedy 87), Rondón
Subs: Clark, Murphy, Fernandez, Roberts, Woodman

FAC NEWCASTLE 0 WATFORD 2 
Woodman, Manquillo, Fernandez (Schär 81), Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie (Atsu 73), Murphy (Pérez 72), Hayden, Longstaff, Kenedy, Joselu
Subs: Rondón, Dubravka, Lejeune, Yedlin, Atsu

FAC BLACKBURN 2 NEWCASTLE 4 AET (Longstaff, Roberts, Joselu, Perez)
Woodman, Sterry, Fernandez, Clark (Lascelles 45- Substituted for Hayden 57), Manquillo, Schär, Murphy, Longstaff, Roberts (Pérez 94), Ritchie (Atsu 109), Joselu
Subs: Rondón, Yedlin, Harker

NEWCASTLE 3 CARDIFF 0 (Schär 2, Perez)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Manquillo 85), Pérez, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu, Rondón
Subs: Clark, Murphy, Joselu, Sterry, Roberts, Woodman

CHELSEA 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Clark)
Dubravka, Yedlin (Manquillo 82), Lejeune, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Pérez (Murphy 82), Longstaff, Hayden, Atsu, Rondón
Subs: Schär, Fernandez, Joselu, Sterry, Woodman

FAC NEWCASTLE 1 BLACKBURN 1 (Ritchie pen)
Woodman, Sterry, Schär, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy (Atsu 75), Hayden (Shelvey 57), Longstaff (Pérez 80), Ritchie, Kenedy, Joselu
Subs: Clark, Rondón, Yedlin, Harker

NEWCASTLE 0 MAN UTD 2
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär (Muto 81), Lascelles, Ritchie, Pérez (Kenedy 69), Hayden, Diamé (Shelvey 53), Atsu, Rondón
Subs: Manquillo, Lejeune, Joselu, Woodman

WATFORD 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Rondon)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez (Schär 45), Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Pérez, Hayden (Shelvey 79), Diamé, Atsu, Rondón
Subs: Murphy, Muto, Manquillo, Joselu, Woodman

LIVERPOOL 4 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 80), Hayden, Diamé, Kenedy (Longstaff 73), Muto, Joselu
Subs: Schär, Rondón, Pérez, Manquillo, Woodman

NEWCASTLE 0 FULHAM 0
Dubravka, Manquillo (Yedlin 84), Schär, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Atsu (Kenedy 72), Ki Sung-yueng, Diamé, Pérez, Rondón
Subs: Muto, Hayden, Fernandez, Joselu, Woodman

HUDDERSFIELD 0 NEWCASTLE 1 (Rondon)
Dubravka, Schär, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng (Hayden 72), Atsu, Kenedy (Dummett), Pérez, Rondón (Ritchie 81)
Subs: Murphy, Muto, Joselu, Woodman

NEWCASTLE 1 WOLVES 2 (Perez)
Dubravka, Lascelles, Fernandez (Manquillo 45), Clark, Yedlin, Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Atsu (Kenedy 89), Ritchie, Pérez, Rondón (Joselu 86)
Subs: Dummett, Muto, Longstaff, Woodman

EVERTON 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Rondon)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Atsu, Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Murphy (Pérez 64), Rondón (Joselu 74)
Subs: Clark, Shelvey, Muto, Longstaff, Woodman

NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 3
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie (Atsu 54), Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Kenedy (Shelvey 70), Pérez (Joselu 78), Rondón
Subs: Clark, Lascelles, Longstaff, Woodman

BURNLEY 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Mee OG, Clark)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Kenedy (Hayden 90), Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Pérez, Rondón (Joselu 71)
Subs: Murphy, Shelvey, Manquillo, Atsu, Woodman

NEWCASTLE 2 BOURNEMOUTH 1 (Rondon 2)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 74), Ki Sung-yueng, Diamé (Atsu 80), Kenedy (Clark 78), Pérez, Rondón
Subs: Clark, Murphy, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 1 WATFORD 0 (Perez)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Schär 45), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (Ki Sung-yueng 51), Diamé, Kenedy, Muto (Pérez 45+2), Rondón
Subs: Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow, Atsu

SOUTHAMPTON 0 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé (Ki Sung-yueng 76), Kenedy, Pérez (Rondón 69), Muto (Atsu 80)
Subs: Schär, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 0 BRIGHTON 1
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy, Pérez, Muto (Joselu 74)
Subs: Schär, Murphy, Hayden, Manquillo, Darlow, Atsu

MAN UTD 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (Kenedy, Muto)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy (Murphy 68), Pérez (Joselu 88), Muto (Atsu 78)
Subs: Schär, Hayden, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 0 LEICESTER 2
Dubravka, Yedlin (Manquillo 80), Lascelles, Clark, Kenedy, Ritchie (Murphy 65), Diamé, Shelvey, Atsu, Pérez (Muto 69), Joselu
Subs: Schär, Hayden, Darlow, Longstaff

CRYSTAL PALACE 0 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 73), Diamé, Shelvey, Kenedy, Pérez (Muto 81), Rondón (Joselu 45)
Subs: Clark, Ki Sung-yueng, Manquillo, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 1 ARSENAL 2 (Clark)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Clark 45), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Muto 79), Hayden, Diamé, Murphy (Kenedy 69), Pérez, Joselu
Subs: Shelvey, Rondón, Manquillo, Dar

MAN CITY 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Yedlin)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark (Murphy 81), Dummett, Kenedy (Atsu 54), Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Pérez, Rondón (Joselu 73)
Subs: Muto, Sterry, Darlow, Longstaff

NOTTINGHAM FOR 3 NEWCASTLE 1 (Rondon)
Darlow, Sterry, Schär, Fernandez (Pérez 69), Clark, Atsu, Longstaff, Ki Sung-yueng, Kenedy, Muto (Murphy 77), Joselu (Rondón 82)
Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Diamé, Yedlin

NEWCASTLE 1 CHELSEA 2 (Joselu)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schär (Muto 79), Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Diamé, Ki Sung-yueng, Murphy (Pérez 73), Rondón (Joselu 62)
Subs: Sterry, Darlow, Atsu, Longstaff

CARDIFF 0 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Manquillo (Hayden 45), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 70), Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy, Pérez (Muto 65), Joselu
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Rondón, Fernandez, Darlow

NEWCASTLE 1 TOTTENHAM 2 (Joselu)
Dubravka, Yedlin (90+2), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 69), Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy, Pérez (Muto 81),Joselu (Rondón 59)
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Schär, Manquillo, Darlow