Rafa Benitez makes decision on his Newcastle future

Rafa Benitez says he will NOT walk out of Newcastle United.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 9:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 12:45 am
Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Benitez is hoping to sign a striker before tomorrow night’s transfer deadline.

The club’s manager has missed out on a series of targets in this month’s transfer window.

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However, Benitez remains “confident” that United will sign one or more players before the 11pm deadline.

The 57-year-old was left frustrated and disappointed by the club’s failure to sign key targets in the last two windows.

And some fans fear another disappointment would lead to Benitez’s exit.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s Premier League home game against Burnley, Benitez said: “My future is very simple and very clear.

Rafa Benitez

“Still, we have one day for doing business. After that, still we can analyse where we are.

“But I don’t think that will change too much, because I have a responsibility to the fans, with the players, with the club, so it’s not just personal with people, names, a lot of people around.”

Benitez has another 18 months left on his St James’s Park contract.

And United owner Mike Ashley sounded Benitez out about a new deal earlier this month.

Rafa Benitez

Asked about his attachment to the club, Benitez said: “I have had the same situation a few years ago when I was at Liverpool and Real Madrid approached me. I gave my word to the players that I would stay.

“Sometimes, you just have to say ‘OK, I will do what I have to do’.

“I have the belief and confidence that even in the more difficult circumstances, still we can stay up and we try to think about that.

“But, hopefully, we will have something coming before the end of the transfer window and feel much better and we have three points.”

Pressed on his position at the club going forward, Benitez added: “You never know.

“You can’t guarantee anything in life or in football, but in my head now is that we do all we have to do before (the Burnley game), try to get three points, then it will be easier for me to have that conviction that we will do well.”

Benitez says he understands the frustration felt by supporters of the relegation-threatened club, which was put up for sale by Ashley late last year.

Asked if he also felt deflated, Benitez said: “I have been here for a while and I understand the feelings of everyone.

“I’m the first one that will like to do things in another way, and then to be sure that everything that we have done is right and make the right decisions.

“It’s like this. So we have to be sure that if we go there, I’m the first one that will push and give everything and then will be an example to the players too.”

Benitez remains hopeful of an 11th-hour breakthrough.

“We’re trying to do things,” he said. There’s the way, there’s another way, but we are trying to do things and sometimes it depends on a phone call, a meeting and then one player is doing a deal, and that means they have to move another player.

“Sometimes it’s that. It’s not the ideal situation when you have been working for months, preparing names and analysing players and then you go to January 1 with a list of players.

“Then you start with the names, the main target that you have.

“And after you have to go to the 31st and are waiting for a phone call from someone else.

“It means that something is wrong.

“But we can’t change what’s going on here for a while. What I can try is to do my best now.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Rob Elliot remains sidelined along with defenders Jesus Gamez and Florian Lejeune.

Benitez will also leave out players, like striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, with a question mark over their futures.

Asked about injuries, Benitez said: “We have Lejeune and Gamez.

“And we have a special situation that you will understand.

“It’s the end of the transfer window, and some players are thinking about their futures.

“So some of them will not be in the squad.”

Elliot missed the weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Chelsea with a back problem.

Benitez said: “He has a little pain (in his back), and has had an injection, but it’s nothing serious. He’s not available.”

Winger Kenedy, signed on loan from Chelsea, could make his debut.

“He is in the squad, maybe he has a chance,” said Benitez.