Benitez: Newcastle have a lot of work to do

Aleksandar Mitrovic of Serbia reacts during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Serbia and Georgia at stadium Rajko Mitic

And the midfielder - who saw a specialist this week - isn't expected to be back for the November 18 game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Steve Cook's 90th minute victor for Bournemouth handed Newcastle with their second defeat of the week after losing at Burnley on Monday night.

Merino could also miss the Premier League fixtures against Watford and West Bromwich Albion later this month.

Replays show Gayle was just level as Matt Ritchie struck to hit the post before the striker rolled the ball home, and though despondent manager Benitez was clearly unhappy with the officials, he kept his own counsel when asked about the disallowed goal.

"We know he's not available so we have to concentrate on the other players".

His manager said: "Merino is at least a couple of weeks".

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Spain Under-21 global Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund on a permanent deal last month, is also missing two European Championship qualifiers.

'We have the worldwide break now and we have enough players in that position, we have Chancel Mbemba who can even play in midfield, ' he added. He'll have treatment and we will see.

"I was really happy before the game, disappointed after the game, I know that it is still too early, but we have to keep working the same way as we did before".

"Without Merino, we can play Mo Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Henri Saivet - even Chancel Mbemba played as a midfielder at the African Cup of Nations".

Perez has made 11 appearances across all competitions this season, starting every single game before Saturday's defeat on Tyneside to Eddie Howe's side.

After the worldwide break, Newcastle's next match is against Manchester United at Old Trafford as things fail to get any easier for Benitez and his men.

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