Rafa Benitez reflects on his first two years at Newcastle – and reveals when he’ll talk about the future

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says he’s reluctant to look beyond Newcastle United’s relegation battle ahead of his two-year anniversary at the club.

Benitez took charge at St James’s Park on March 11, 2016, following the dismissal of Steve McClaren.

The 57-year-old has experienced a relegation and a promotion since succeeding McClaren at United.

And Newcastle, 16th in the Premier League and two points above the relegation zone, are again fighting to stay in the top flight, with nine games left to play.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary, Benitez said: “It’s difficult to sum up two years.

“(There was) the disappointment of the first season.

“We thought we could stay up. (I was) really pleased with the second season – we won the Championship – and did really well.

“This year could be worse.

“Games you were winning could be a draw, maybe draws could be a loss. It’s fine (margins). It depends on a couple of games, which could be better.”

Benitez – whose previous job had at been at Real Madrid – went from challenging for trophies to fighting relegation in the space of a few months.

Asked if he had enjoyed his first two years at Newcastle, Benitez said: “The point is that I like to coach and train, and if you have a job where you can compete, then it’s fine.

“Is it ideal to go in some games and you know it’s very very difficult to win?

“No. I’m used to approaching any game with the idea that we can win.

“Now, some of the games, it depends on a lot of things whether we’ll have a chance or not. But I still enjoy preparing for the games and doing everything I can.”

Benitez is under contract at United until the summer of 2019.

Asked about the future, he said: “Let me finish, let me do well, let us stay in the Premier League and then we can talk about the future.”