• Lascelles had called owner Mike Ashley ‘a nice guy’
• ‘He was trying to send the right message,’ says Benítez
Rafael Benítez has revealed that Jamaal Lascelles was surprised by the vitriol he attracted on social media after Newcastle United’s captain described the club’s owner, Mike Ashley as “a nice guy”.
During a series of interviews on Thursday Lascelles urged fans to desist protesting against Ashley’s regime. That message has not gone down at all well on Tyneside but Benítez has asked supporters not to abuse his key defender as Newcastle seek their first win of the season, at home to Watford on Saturday afternoon.