Benitez says Newcastle must reduce squad size

The Magpies boss confirmed Siem de Jong is close to agreeing a deal with Ajax and Emmanuel Riviere has completed a move to Metz, as he emphasised the importance of reducing the club's squad size to free up space for new arrivals.

Benitez admitted he does not want Aleksandar Mitrovic to be among the players to leave St James' Park, stressing his side do not have strikers at their disposal.

"Obviously at the end of the transfer window everything is important so, every day, if you can do business it makes a difference for the future," Benitez said.

"A lot of the time we are trying to do our job behind the scenes and at the same time try to concentrate on football.

"Obviously, if you move players out or players in, it will be a big difference.

"We are working to try and move players in too.

"We have too many players. We have to keep moving players but at the same time we have to try and bring players that can give us something different.

"We don't have too many strikers and we don't want to lose any at the moment."

Newly-promoted Newcastle are yet to pick up a point, having lost their opening two league games against Tottenham and Huddersfield.

But Benitez is positive his men can turn things around to produce a result when they host West Ham on Saturday.

"I have the confidence that the team will improve," he said.

"We have to move forward quickly. Getting three points in the next league game is our objective, our target."

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