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Rafa Benitez confirms the players have decided against having a Christmas party

“Normally we will not do it and the players have also decided to cancel their Christmas party because they have taken responsibility and they think it’s important to focus on formal. They have cancelled. They want to give a very clear message that they care and they want to do things right. On the pitch you can win or not, but they realise that they have to be focused on doing things right. There was no pressure from me.

“I was asking four or five players about it and they were very clear: ‘Oh no, we cannot.’ And that was it. They talked between themselves and decided. I think it’s the right thing. Obviously, if you are asking me, this group of players are working so hard so I could not have said to them you do not deserve to do this or that - they are giving everything - but they have decided this and I think that’s very positive.

“I have said to them, maybe later on they could have dinner or lunch or whatever in the future when things are going well. I think it’s a very good thing from them.”

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