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Newcastle United's Benitez eases Ghana off Atsu injury problem

14:41 GMT 20/11/2017
Christian Atsu
The Magpies gaffer has taken the blame off the Black Stars after the winger was sent to the club early from international duty

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has opted against blaming Ghana for Christian Atsu’s injury.

The 25-year-old was not available for their 4-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday after he was sent back to England from international duty with a thigh muscle strain.

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The Spaniard revealed that Atsu had earlier suffered a 'kick' in Newcastle United’s defeat to Bournemouth on November 4 and could not play a part in the Black Stars' 1-1 draw against Egypt in a dead rubber 2018 World Cup Qualifying encounter on November 12.

While the former Porto and Chelsea winger could face two weeks on the sidelines, Benitez insisted that Ghana should not be faulted.

“He had a kick during the game against Bournemouth, and after when he shot he was feeling it a little bit,” Benitez told Shield Gazette.

“He put some ice on it and said he was fine. Then he went away with the national team. He had a training session and they [Ghana] sent him back.

"It's not the case that they were using him and then something happened. He had a little problem and then he went there, couldn't play and he came back. It's not that it's their fault. It's just something that happened."

Atsu who joined the St James' Park outfit permanently from Chelsea for a fee in the region of £6 million in June has registered a goal in 915 minutes of Premier League action this season.