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Rafa Benitez reacts to his meal with Mike Ashley and Newcastle's players

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Rafa Benitez says he had a "pleasant dinner" with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Ashley took Benitez and his players out for an Italian meal in Ponteland on Wednesday night.

It was the first time that the pair had spoken since the summer, when their relationship became strained over the club's summer transfer budget and Benitez's unwillingness to sign a new contract without assurances over spending.

And Benitez, Newcastle's manager, says "everything" was discussed.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's game against Manchester United, manager Benitez said: “It was a pleasant dinner, that’s it. Everything that we were talking about will stay between us.

"Normally, the clubs I have been at, I have had dinners with the owner. It's common in football. I will not talk too much about that, because we have an important game to play.

"It was a pleasant dinner. We spoke about everything, and now we have to concentrate on football.

“The players were fine. Everyone was relaxed, and that’s it.

“We talked about Manchester United, how difficult it is and what we have to do.

“It is very common in any team to have dinners with directors, staff the owners, president. It’s very common. I don’t see the point to create something that was so normal.

"It was pleasant, fine. We have to concentrate on Manchester United.

“It was nice to have all the team together, that’s it. It was fine."