Rafa Benitez: '˜I like to win trophies, not to finish 10th'

Rafa Benitez says there can be no repeat of Newcastle United's performance against West Bromwich Albion in the club's remaining three games.

Monday, 30th April 2018, 6:00 am
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says there can be no repeat of Newcastle United’s performance against West Bromwich Albion in the club’s remaining three games.

Benitez’s side suffered a second consecutive defeat at the weekend, when they lost 1-0 at St James’s Park.

Tenth-placed Newcastle could still catch Leicester City, who are a place and three points above them in the Premier League table.

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Benitez, already planning for next season, is more concerned with performances than places ahead of Saturday’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

“I said before, for me to finish eighth or 15th doesn’t change my life,” said Benitez.

“It means a lot if you can finish higher in the table, fine. But I like to win trophies, not to finish 10th.

“This time, OK, we can finish ninth, it’s better that you finish ninth. But we have to improve, we cannot play at the level we did against West Brom.”

Each Premier League place is worth £1.9million in prize money alone.

Asked about the financial incentive for a higher finish, Benitez said: “It doesn’t change too much for me. It’s just to be sure that we play like we have to play.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his team’s performances after they won the league title would tell him a lot about the mentality of his players ahead of next season.

“It is like that for everyone,” said Benitez.

“But the difference is that they have players with a lot of quality and they usually keep the ball so they have to be sure that they keep passing the ball well.

“For us, it is to be sure we keep the intensity that is the key for us to succeed.”

Meanwhile, Leicester have been linked with a move for Benitez.

Claude Puel’s future at the King Power Stadium is in doubt following Saturday’s 5-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. And it has been claimed that Benitez is a target for Leicester.

Benitez will discuss his Newcastle future with owner Mike Ashley at the end of the season.