Rafa Benitez gives update on his contract situation at Newcastle United
Benitez’s contract runs out at the end of the campaign – and fans fear that he will leave in the summer.
Mike Ashley, United’s owner, has been trying to persuade Benitez to sign a new deal for the past 13 months.
However, Benitez won’t necessarily come to the table should the 13th-placed club secure its Premier League status in the coming weeks.
“It’s not that we will talk when we reach that,” said Benitez. “It is not ‘this is the mark, then we will start talking’. It’s just that we have to do what we have to do now.
“We have to win games. I know from experience, when you’re doing well, and people start talking too much, it’s when you make mistakes.
“In this case it’s the same. We’re doing well. We have to get these six or seven points that we need. It will be easier. Even if you’re distracted, you will be safe. Now it’s a risk, but I understand you have to do it and fans will say ‘what is going on?’. We have to stay calm and be sure the team will win a couple of games.”
Asked if he had spoken to Ashley in the wake of back-to-back home wins over Burnley and Huddersfield Town, Benitez said: “I was talking with (managing director) Lee Charnley.”
Benitez is looking for a long-term “project” in English football.
Asked about United, he said: “Yes, there is potential.”