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Rafa Benitez outlines his position on a new contract at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid
Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid

Rafa Benitez says he wants to stay at Newcastle United – and help the club realise its “massive” potential.

Benitez has a year left on his contract at St James’s Park.

And representatives of United’s manager have held talks with the club’s hierarchy over a new deal.

However, Benitez wants assurances over investment, having been left frustrated by Newcastle’s failure to land a series of targets in the last three transfer windows.

Speaking to the BBC’s The Premier League Show, Benitez said: “I have one year left on my contract.

“We are already talking, and we will see where we are.

“My position is clear and simple. I’m happy here.

“Hopefully, we can do everything that we have to do to be sure the strength of the team and the club is enough to compete and maybe achieve what we want to achieve.”

Benitez – who joined Newcastle two years ago months after leaving Real Madrid – wants to challenge for trophies and compete in Europe.

“To challenge for a trophy (or) go to Europe, it will be even better,” said the 58-year-old.

“The potential of the club is massive. So it’s just to do things in the right way, and then you can improve and improve.”

United are 10th in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

The club secured its top-flight status with a 2-1 win over Arsenal last month.

“Nobody was expecting that with five games to go that we could be safe and thinking about the future, so I think it has been a great achievement for a group of players from the Championship to finish in the top 12,” said Benitez.

“It has been a massive achievement.”

Newcastle were tipped to go down at the start of the campaign.

“At the beginning, everybody was a little bit worried,” said Benitez.

“We didn’t have a group of players with too much experience in the Premier League, but after we had a bad run, and the reaction of the team, after January, has been fantastic.

“The players were playing better, with more confidence, winning games. That gives us you even more confidence.

“Everything has been so positive, and the fans (have been) behind the team all the time. There’s been a very good togetherness between players, fans, city.”

The loan signings of winger Kenedy and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in January galvanised the team.

“Signing Dubravka and Kenedy was important, and maybe the game against Manchester United at home, and the way that we won this game, everybody believed that we could do it,” said Benitez.

Meanwhile, midfielder Mikel Merino – who missed last weekend’s home defeat to West Bromwich Albion – is back in training.