Rafa Benitez reveals his thoughts on a meeting with Mike Ashley at Newcastle

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says he will sit down and talk about the future with Mike Ashley – when the time is right.

Newcastle United’s manager hasn’t met owner Ashley since May, when the pair discussed the club’s transfer plans in the wake of promotion to the Premier League.

Benitez became frustrated in the close season.

And the 57-year-old indicated late in the summer that he no longer saw the club as a long-term project.

However, Benitez – whose 10th-placed side take on Liverpool at St James’s Park on Sunday – says their lack of contact is not an issue for the moment – and he will meet Ashley in the near future.

Asked if he had spoken to Ashley, Benitez said: “It’s not an issue, my conversation with Mike.

I don’t have a problem with Mike. The question is where we are, where we want to be and what we have to do to be there.

Rafa Benitez

“You know I talk with (managing director) Lee Charnley almost every day, and now we will not change anything because now what we have to do is concentrate on improving the team and all those things.”

Benitez says players are being scouted ahead of January’s transfer window.

“Are we working for the January transfer window? Yes, we are already working on that,” said Benitez.

“Like the majority of the teams, we’re monitoring players and that’s the main thing.

“There will be a time, maybe next month, maybe next week, maybe in two months, when we will have another conversation and we will talk about that.

“It’s not an issue at the moment. The relationship is fine, because we don’t need to talk every day on the phone or we don’t need to discuss about what will happen in January.

“Now we are working, preparing everything, and, any time, we will have a conversation, a dinner or something, where we will talk about the future.”

A report earlier this week claimed the club was ready to open talks with Benitez over a new contract, with his present deal expiring at the end of next season.

Benitez said: “We’re not talking about that. I was told there was something in the press. My focus now is the next game. That’s it.”

Asked if he wanted to build for the longer-term, he added: “I don’t think we have to lose energy with that.

“It doesn’t change anything. Why do we have to create that debate about something which doesn’t have an influence on the next game or the next six months.

“I think it’s important to continue doing our jobs. I have a contract. It’s not an issue now, for me.”

It was also claimed that Ashley had invited Benitez to dinner.

Benitez said: “We have had some conversations internally. We’ll see what we do with them, but it’s not a big issue. I don’t have a problem with Mike.

“The question is where we are, where we want to be and what we have to do to be there.

“It (the contract) is not an issue. It’s not something that will change my approach, or that I will be more comfortable if I sign a 20-year-old contract. It doesn’t change my approach for the next game.”

Asked if he was happy at the club, Benitez said: “Yes.

“We were training and I was spending five minutes with one player, 10 minutes with a couple of players, another five minutes with another group of players, because I love my job – that is to coach, to improve players and to create a team that is competitive and can win games.

“Then I have to enjoy it, for sure.

“Two weeks ago, when I was lying down on the sofa (after an operation). I was not very happy. Now I can be on the pitch, I’m quite happy.”