Rafa Benitez gives update on his communications with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Rafa Benitez says he's communicating with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley through Lee Charnley.

Ashley attended last weekend's goalless draw against Crystal Palace, but didn't speak to Benitez.

Newcastle fans at Selhurst Park chanted for Ashley to "get out of our club", though Benitez felt his first appearance at a game in more than a year was a "positive".

Benitez, however, doesn't know if Ashley plans to attend a home game this season.

Asked about Ashley's appearance at Selhurst Park, United manager Benitez said: “I was not surprised, because I knew that he was going. If the owner wants to be around, that's positive. It has to be positive.

“I don't see any problem with that, because it means that he cares and is supporting the team. Hopefully. that will be the case in the next weeks and months."

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Benitez hasn't spoken to Ashley since the summer, when they failed to agree a way forward going into the final year of the 58-year-old's contract at St James's Park.

However, Benitez has had a number of conversations with managing director Charnley.

Asked if he had spoken to Ashley since last weekend, Benitez said: “Not really, but I have my communication with him through Lee Charnley. I had yesterday a conversation with Lee and we were talking about everything.

There is a protest planned against Ashley before tomorrow's home game against Leicester City.

Asked if Ashley would attend, Benitez said: “I'm not sure 100%, because it depends on him, but if he comes, it's fine. Good. Positive."