Lee Charnley: Newcastle's best chance of returning to Premier League is under 'phenomenal' Benitez

Managing director Lee Charnley and owner Mike Ashley

Managing director Lee Charnley and owner Mike Ashley

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Managing director Lee Charnley admits Newcastle United's best hopes of returning to the Premier League are with Rafa Benitez at the helm.

Follow our live blog from the press conference here:
Benitez has signed a new three-year deal to remain at Newcastle, who will be playing Championship football next season.

Managing director Lee Charnley

Managing director Lee Charnley

But a delighted Charnley believes the club are well placed for a swift return after confirmation Benitez would be staying.

And he admits it was crucial they managed to persuade Benitez to stay on as manager after he "captured" the hearts and minds of supporters.

Charnley added: "When we brought Rafa to the club in March, we knew he was a phenomenal manager and everything we have seen from him since has only served to reinforce that.

"We are therefore delighted to have secured his services for the next three years and I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that.

"It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club's supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.

"He has captured the hearts and minds not just of the fans, but of everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him at the club thus far.

"As a world-class manager we had no doubt in our minds as to the importance of retaining him at Newcastle United."

A further announcement regarding Benitez's coaching staff will be made in due course.

Follow our live blog from the press conference here: