Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Things Must Change If Rafa Stays at the Helm at United; THE AGENDA: What Newcastle United Need to Do to Keep Manager at the Club 'Suffering' Rafa Benitez Reveals What Newcastle Must Do to Convince Him to Stay at the Club Long Term. Chris Waugh Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Things Must Change If Rafa Stays at the Helm at United; THE AGENDA: What Newcastle United Need to Do to Keep Manager at the Club 'Suffering' Rafa Benitez Reveals What Newcastle Must Do to Convince Him to Stay at the Club Long Term. Chris Waugh Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Waugh

RAFA Benitez insists Newcastle United "have to change things" if he is to commit his long-term future to the Magpies.

The Spaniard will have just 12 months remaining on the three-year deal he signed during the summer of 2016 come the end of the season, and managing director Lee Charnley attempted to initiate contract talks in January.

However, Benitez wants Newcastle - who are in 13th place, four points above the relegation zone, with eight games to go - to secure top-flight survival before he will sit down and properly discuss extending his contract.

If Benitez is to remain at St James' Park beyond the 2018/19 campaign, he has strongly hinted that the way Mike Ashley operates the football club will need to change - if a new ownership group does not arrive in the summer - for him to countenance staying on.

The Spaniard believed Newcastle could "compete" this season, but he feels he has been let down during three successive transfer windows and has not been given total control of 'football operations'.

"No," Benitez told The Mirror - during a fascinating wide-ranging interview out in Spain with four national newspapers - when asked about whether his own future was a priority at the moment.

"The main thing is Huddersfield [next]. The job is not done."

Should Newcastle survive this season, then Benitez will rightly consider it as a massive achievement. He stresses he has not been given "all the tools" to launch a successful Premier League campaign, and admits he has "suffered" at times this term.

"Have I enjoyed being Newcastle manager? I enjoy it when we are winning," he added.

"I like to do things well and when you see something is right, I'm really proud. But it's difficult to enjoy it when you are suffering all the time because you have to win and then you lose. Have I enjoyed this season? No, but maybe the word 'enjoyment' is different in English.

"I'm really pleased with my job. I like it. But enjoyment is when you score eight goals in the Champions League against Besiktas [as my Liverpool side did].

"What my teams usually do is compete, with the chance to win. …

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