Rafa Benitez reveals his ‘pride’ at promoted Newcastle – and addresses his future at club

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez told of his “pride” after guiding Newcastle United back into the Premier League – then put a question mark over his future at the club.

Benitez’s side secured promotion to the top flight with a 4-1 win over Preston North End last night.

Two goals from Ayoze Perez and strikes from Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu ensured the return of Premier League football to St James’s Park.

Benitez praised his players and staff, and the Newcastle’s fans, after the Championship match.

But United’s manager – who is looking for significant funds to strengthen his squad in the summer – was coy when asked if he would be at the club next season.

Asked if he would be in charge, Benitez said: “You never know – that’s football.

“I am really pleased to be here, and really happy and proud for everything we have achieved.

“Hopefully, we can put in the foundations for something that will be a guarantee for the future.”

Asked what he needed in the summer, Benitez added: “What we need is to enjoy today, and after we will see where we are.”

Benitez celebrated with his players on the pitch after the Preston game.

On his team’s achievement, he said: “It feels really good.

“I’m really proud of everyone, because we knew it would be difficult at the beginning, when everyone was saying ‘Rafa has no experience of the Championship and it will be tough’.

“They were right, it was very difficult, but the commitment and hard work of the players every day, and the staff and everyone involved, and then the support of the fans, has made a massive difference.

“It is a day we have to remember, because it is not easy to go down and then come straight back up first time.

“We know that from experience. We have 88 points, and that says it all.

“We have had decisions that have been a little bit special, and we could be higher with more points.

“But we are where we are, and we have to be pleased to go up and try to enjoy it.”