Wednesday 21 March 2018

Benitez issues Newcastle ultimatum to prove they will give him what he wants

Rafa Benitez: ‘There is a good chance I will stay, I still think this is a huge club with massive potential.’ Photo: Chris Radburn/PA
Rafa Benitez: ‘There is a good chance I will stay, I still think this is a huge club with massive potential.’ Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

Luke Edwards

Rafa Benitez has given Newcastle United a fortnight to prove he will be given everything he needs to get out of the Championship, but says there is a "good chance" he will stay.

Benitez is keeping his options open, but he will find it difficult to walk away unless something far more attractive comes up which would also allow him to remain in England with his family. Neither Benitez or his advisers have had contact with any other Premier League clubs and the manager is confident he will get what he asks for if he remains at Newcastle.

The Spaniard was initially reluctant to consider managing in the Championship, but he has forged a strong bond with the supporters and remains excited about the club's potential. Crucially, he also has an excellent relationship with managing director Lee Charnley and has been given everything that he has asked for since replacing Steve McClaren in March.

Benitez has held one "positive" meeting with Charnley and is due to speak to owner Mike Ashley in the coming days, although nothing is likely to be resolved until the start of June. "I want the same things as the fans," Benitez said.

"A strong team capable to promote quickly and to compete at the maximum level. If I'm here and discussing it, it's because there is a chance [I will stay], a good chance. We have to keep talking. I'm happy with everything here, I'm near my family, which is important and I still think this is a huge club with massive potential.

"We need a structure to allow the club to compete. I am happy to discuss all of these things. I'm really flattered by the fans, because it has been amazing and I know it can be even more positive. I will not lie, I am considering. I am quite happy with everything here. Can we improve things? Can we change some things? Then it will be easier for me to make a decision."

Benitez admits he has much to consider. He started this season with Real Madrid and he could now be preparing for games against Burton Albion and Rotherham United.

But he has made it clear he is willing to take on that challenge, pointing out that he has managed in the second tier in Spain and that, at this stage of his career, "happiness" is the most important thing.

"The difference is the timing in my career," Benitez explained. "But I've worked for so many years as a coach and you have to ask yourself do you want to enjoy or do you want to earn money. I would like to enjoy winning trophies, but at the moment I'm really pleased with the reaction to everything we've discussed. If I decide I want to stay, I want to make sure I can win.

"I can see I can help the club with my experience and make the right decisions to move forward, but I want to make sure I can win the Championship, not spend 10 years there."


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