Rafa Benitez has been speaking to the media back ‘home’ in Spain.
The Newcastle boss talking in the aftermath of his team beating Arsenal to all but mathematically guarantee Premier League safety.
As always,the Manager was keen to give credit to others for the achievements this season: ‘The players deserve huge credit for coming up from the Championship and, with not a great deal of resources compared with others, have the season they are having.’
Speaking of resources, Newcastle fans have predictably turned their thoughts increasingly to Rafa’s own future, as that Premier League safety has got closer and closer.
After the struggles with the owner over the last three transfer windows and only one year left remaining on his contract, supporters only want to hear one thing now.
Asked if he sees himself at St James Park ‘for many more seasons’, Rafa Benitez says that ‘Yes, in principle’ he is ‘relaxed’ about that.
With only 26 days until the season ends and less than eight weeks until the transfer window opens, fans desperately want an extended contract agreed with the manager.
Rafa says that talks have already began with the club about extending his contract and that Mike Ashley has made clear he wants to ‘link’ the Manager to Newcastle United for a longer period.
Rafa Benitez interviewed on Spanish radio as reported/translated by The Mail:
Does Rafa see himself at Newcastle United for many more seasons?
“Yes, in principle, we are relaxed.
“We have one more year left on the contract and now the board are trying that we talk a little bit about the future because the talk now is always about ‘projects’.
“With so much investment it is increasingly difficult but they want to link us to the club for more time so that we can make a stronger team if possible.”
Being linked with the Arsenal job?
“The fact that you get linked, it is something positive because it makes you proud of your career trajectory.
“People in England are conscious of the fact that experience in the Premier League is important and, what is more, you go to other competitions and other leagues and win as well.
“They see that experience, when a team is struggling to get into the top four, with that experience the coaches who while they are still young, because 58 for a coach is still young, they know the Premier League, and they know what it is to compete, what it is to win, that is what they value.
“There are people that talk about ‘Young coaches and we give them time’, but when a club wants to win quickly, what they want is results and results with people who have been here for a while and know what the Premier League is and how difficult it can be.”
Beating Arsenal and reaching Premier League safety:
“The players deserve huge credit for coming up from the Championship and, with not a great deal of resources compared with others, have the season they are having.
“People were saying with 35 points we would be safe, or with 38 we would be safe, I kept saying 40, 41 points is virtual safety.
“Everything is so tight that you can hit a period of six, seven or eight games without winning and you are in trouble. The team has had a sensational second half of the season.
“When a team goes down it is very hard to come straight back up and to then have the sort of season we are having.
“The supporters have been spectacular and they are really proud of the team.”