Rafa Benitez outlines his stance on a new deal at Newcastle
Rafa Benitez is open to talks over a new deal at Newcastle United.
The club yesterday passed the 40-point mark and secured its Premier League status with a 2-1 win over Arsenal at St James’s Park.
Newcastle are 10th in the Premier League – and 13 points clear of the relegation zone – with five games left to play.
Benitez – who has just over a year left on his contract – hopes to sit down with owner Mike Ashley to discuss his future at the end of the campaign.
United’s manager will look for assurances on transfer funds from Ashley, though the situation is complicated by the billionaire’s keenness to sell the club, which was put on the market last October.
Asked if he was open to signing a new deal at Newcastle, Benitez said: “We will see.
“Obviously, it’s too early because we have just finished, but we have plenty of time to talk about ideas for the future.
“As I have said before, if everything is right, it’s a good opportunity, but everything has to be right.”
Benitez has won trophies throughout his managerial career.
However, the 57-year-old regards guiding United to Premier League safety with games to spare as a major achievement for him and his players.
“It’s quite important, especially if you analyse the whole season,” said Benitez.
“What I said during the first part of the season, some of these teams who were at the bottom with us, they had their players who could change games, players with experience in the Premier League.
“It’s not that some of them were better than our players, it’s just because they had the experience, they could manage the anxiety, they could manage the pressure in a different way.
“We were learning, we were improving and then you could see the team (against Arsenal), it was a fantastic achievement against a very good team.”
Asked where it ranked, Benitez said: “You want me to say that it’s like the Champions League in 2005 (when Liverpool beat AC Milan in the final)!
“It’s a great achievement. The difference is that when you win titles, especially if it’s a cup, there are fewer games, or it’s just a final.
“When you achieve something like that, it’s during the whole season, and you can see the team progressing and improving, so I’m really pleased to see players playing every week much better, learning about what to do in difficult situations.
“It’s a great achievement for everyone, not just for me, for everyone.
“Maybe you have to put this in writing, It is not for me to do it.”
Benitez believes the support his team has got has helped the players this season.
“When you have the fans behind the team and the players all the time, it’s an amazing attitude which helps you to win and play better,” said Benitez.
“I was really pleased with everything I’ve seen, but at the same time we’re professionals, and we have to be sure that next year, we have the tools to compete at the level we want to compete at.”