Captain Lascelles insisted it was nothing personal, but Newcastle’s senior players kept their counsel in the post-match mixed zone. Even the club’s own website could not get the players’ views.
Relations with the media have been cordial on this trip, but it was a tough night for the team, and they were late emerging from the dressing room, presumably after a few home truths from manager Benitez.
The man himself gave a terse but not tetchy press conference. His answers were very short, but it was clear his frustration was being directed towards the St James’ Park boardroom, not his inquisitors in the Estadio Municipal Press room.
Benitez painted a picture of a man in the dark about where his club stands in the transfer market, still on the lookout for “three or four” additions, but increasingly pessimistic about getting them.
Without saying much at all, he sent out a very clear message to the club’s supporters who, he pointed out, are clever enough to understand the situation. It is not one to gladden the heart with a new season fast approaching.