Rafa Benitez’s telling reponse to questions about his meeting with Mike Ashley at Newcastle United
Rafa Benitez says nothing has changed at Newcastle United after his meeting with Mike Ashley.
Ashley, the club’s owner, met Benitez for talks at St James’s Park after last weekend’s 3-0 win over Cardiff City.
Benitez – who has refused to discuss transfers since admitting he was “worried” after Newcastle’s Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool – wouldn’t reveal much about the “private conversation” with Ashley, who has been pushing the 58-year-old to sign a new deal for the past 12 months.
However, United’s manager – who will leave the club in the summer when his contract expires if he is not backed in this month’s transfer window – says the situation has not changed.
Asked if he was happier after speaking to Ashley, Benitez said: “I’m exactly the same.
“I don’t need to talk about what we were talking about, because it was a private conversation.
“But, more or less, we’re in the same situation. We have to wait.”
Asked by the Gazette if he was still worried, Benitez said: “We are where we are, so we will see.”
Ashley – who put Newcastle up for sale in October 2017 – congratulated Benitez and his players on the Cardiff win.
The result lifted the club out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
“We had a good conversation,” said Benitez.
“We were talking about Cardiff, the three points and everything. It’s fine, but still we are where we are.”
Newcastle abandoned a move for Lazio left-back Jordan Lukaku last night. The 24-year-old had travelled to Tyneside for a medical.
“We just keep working on what we can try to do in the window,” said Benitez, who also wants to sign a No 10 and a winger.