Thursday 14 December 2017

Rafael Benitez focus on short term after Newcastle's barren transfer window

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has insisted he is going nowhere amid speculation over his future
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has insisted he is going nowhere amid speculation over his future

Rafael Benitez has declined to give assurances about his long-term future at Newcastle despite insisting he will not walk away from the club.

The 56-year-old Spaniard was left frustrated and disappointed by the Magpies' lack of transfer activity in January after hoping until the final day of the window that at least Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend would return to St James' Park to aid the fight for promotion back to the Premier League.

He has now vowed to concentrate only on the task of securing the Newcastle's passage out of the Sky Bet Championship before addressing what appears to have changed in recent weeks after he was initially handed full control of the club's football operations.

Benitez said: "I was not talking about, 'If, if, if', and I will not be saying, 'Oh, in the future'. My future now is the next game and trying to get promoted.

"And then every week things could change because if we win, it will be easier. Lose and it will be more difficult. So it makes no sense for me to talk about what happens in the future.

"What I want to say is that I am concentrating and focused and I want to win every single game I can until the end of the season.

"We will have plenty of time to talk about what is going on and how to do things or whatever, but I am not worrying about that and the fans have to understand this. The priority is to get the results we need to get promotion."

Benitez was handed a free rein when he agreed to remain on Tyneside in the wake of relegation and reshaped his squad during the summer while recording a £30million profit, which it appears he expected to be able to spend in January.

However, with owner Mike Ashley having tightened, rather than loosened, the purse strings, the Spaniard's wait for reinforcements proved fruitless.

Benitez will not dwell on the matter in the short term having seen it all before, but he has called for a united front to avoid a return to the days during the not too distant past when Ashley and the fans were at war.

He said: "What you have to do now is concentrate on what you can change - your team selection, your fitness. The other things, we have plenty of time to analyse and see what will happen.

"At the moment, we need the fans behind the team and the players focused. After, we will see. If in three weeks' time we have won four games, the sky will be blue again."

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