Speaking to the BBC as part of last night’s ‘Premier League show’, Rafa Benitez insisted that he is ‘happy’ at Newcastle United, but admitted that the strength of his team and the club must improve if he’s to sign a new deal and ‘achieve what we want to achieve’.
The first half of the show was dedicated to NUFC and was a great watch, with the gaffer coming across brilliantly as always during his wide-ranging interview (watch it here).
One part NUFC fans may be most interested to hearing about was him addressing his future at the club now contract talks are underway. Here’s what he had to say on that front:
“I have one year left on my contract and we are already talking – and then we will see where we are.
“My position is clear and simple: I am happy here, so hopefully we can do everything that we have to do to be sure that the relationship, the strength of the team and the club is enough to compete and maybe achieve what we want to achieve.”
“To be capable of challenging for a trophy – the League Cup or the FA Cup – and obviously if you can go into Europe, all these things then it will be even better [being here].
“The potential of the club is massive, so it’s just to do things in the right way, and then you can improve, and you can improve, and you can improve.”
Once again, the message is crystal clear from Benitez. It’s almost embarrassing how many times he’s had to come out and repeat himself.
He’s clearly happy and his ambitions are clear. He wants us to learn from mistakes, push on and begin competing as a club – both in the league, in the cups and, one day, in Europe.
Rafa also touched on the work he and the club have been doing in the community since he arrived, showing once again what a brilliant ambassador he is for our club:
“For us (the coaching and playing staff), it costs not too much to go, sign a shirt, go to a dinner, or something like that.
“If you have time, you can do it and it’s fine. I think it’s good for the city, the people around and, at the same time, it gives a good message because you go to these events like an ambassador for your club.
“So I think it’s a positive for everyone.”
He just gets it doesn’t he. He’s the best thing that’s happened to our football club since Bobby Robson and Alan Shearer and Mike Ashley would be a fool not to recognise this.
Losing him this summer would be unbearable and crippling for the club.
We’re going in the right direction and Rafa seems fairly upbeat, but the person controlling this ship is Mike Ashley – and that’s the big worry.. His next move is massive.