Football just said:

Claude Puel praises Rafa Benitez for job done at Newcastle this season

Leicester manager Claude Puel has praised the work done by counterpart Rafa Benitez at Newcastle this season.

The two teams face each other at the King Power Stadium on Saturday and Puel believes the Magpies already have their Premier League place assured under the Spaniard, who has been vocal in his criticism many times this campaign at what he sees as a lack of signings.

Benitez got Newcastle promoted back to the top flight by winning the Championship title last season and the club are 12th in the table, seven points clear of relegation trouble with seven games remaining.

Puel thinks the Magpies will be able to play without pressure on Saturday and that this makes them a dangerous proposition.

“I think Benitez has made a great job all season,” said Puel. “It is always difficult to go down into the Championship and to go up after just one season is fantastic.

“It is tough in the Championship, 24 teams and they are all battles. I think it was fantastic job to save his place in the Premier League just one season after is fantastic.

“Congratulations because he has done a fantastic job, to him and his players. I think they are clear now, they are safe in the Premier League.

“That is fantastic for Newcastle and they can play with freedom against us. We saw this feeling against Brighton. It was the same thing with the team full of confidence.

“Newcastle will play well against us. It will be a tough game because they can play with freedom with a good mentality, without pressure. It will be a tough game and they are a dangerous team to play.”

Leicester striker Islam Slimani is on loan at Newcastle and Puel would not be drawn on the Algerian’s future.

He said: “He is a Leicester player, like all the players out on loan. We will make some explanation or discussion about the situation of all the players at the end of the season.

Leicester will be without the suspended Wilfred Ndidi this weekend after he was sent off for two yellow cards in his side’s win over Brighton last time out.

Fellow midfielder Matty James has been ruled out for the rest of the season following Achilles tendon surgery.

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