Ashley 'hopes very much' that Benitez stays at Newcastle

Ashley 'hopes very much' that Benitez stays at Newcastle

Newcastle ended the season in 10th place after a commanding 3-0 defeat of deposed champions Chelsea on the final day.

However, 2018 has been a good year so far for the Geordies, losing just five league games.

And with discussions ongoing with Benitez and United hierarchy about his demands for next season, the former Liverpool boss stated he is unsure "how close we are".

Benitez said: "If we want to achieve something, we have to understand the way to do that".

"We have to sit down, talk and see where we are". I'm only talking to Newcastle right now'. Maybe they will help you attract a player who turns out to be a key player.

"I have another year of my contract and we are trying to do our best to do what we have to do to go forward".

"Now we have to be sure that we do the right things and then what I have said so many times - we need to be on the same page".

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"We won a trophy against them and it wasn't easy, but they have the ability to improve themselves in the transfer market. We need a squad that has to be capable of competing in the Premier League". "The potential is there".

With one of the weakest squads in the league, Benitez has led Newcastle to a tenth-placed finish, 11 points clear of relegation.

In the meantime, a man who is keen to challenge for silverware rather than fight for mere survival will be able to reflect upon a job well done after guiding last season's Sky Bet Championship winners through a mid-season slump to safety and beyond, a mission which has been warmly appreciated by his players and the fans alike.

"Rafa, as always, has my full support and, contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him", Ashley said.

"I was really proud of that, but you can not sing the name of the manager if the team is doing badly", he said.

"In this case I think the players what they did last season, what they did this year is massive".

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