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Newcastle boss Benitez: Ashley and I are okay; Slimani will be valuable

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez insists there's no rift with chairman Mike Ashley after a low key winter market.

Benitez is happy to get Leicester City striker Islam Slimani through the door.

"At the moment, my feeling is that we are a little bit better than three days ago. Why? We have new players with different characteristics and they want to play, improve and push," said Benitez when asked if he was satisfied with the club's efforts in January.

"I don't want to create a war, I don't need to do that, but I need to be sure the players are concentrated on football and getting points to stay up."

Meanwhile, Benitez insists Slimani will prove a valuable addition.

Slimani arrived with a thigh injury but could make the bench at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Benitez said: "It (the signing) is not a risk. He is a player Leicester paid nearly £30m for. If you have Jamie Vardy up front and the way he is playing, it's very difficult to play ahead of him.

"But he knows the league, he's strong, he can run behind defenders, different things that we don't have."

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Paul Vegas

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