Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black-and-Whites' Boss Hails Near-'Miracle' of Staying Up - and Relishes Defeating Red Devils

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black-and-Whites' Boss Hails Near-'Miracle' of Staying Up - and Relishes Defeating Red Devils

Article excerpt

RAFA Benitez's future continues to dominate the agenda on Tyneside - and the Newcastle United manager has provided what very much sounds like a positive update.

During an extensive Q&A with Italian publication CalcioNapoli24, the Spaniard has revealed that the Magpies are "the only club" he is currently negotiating with, despite interest from rival teams.

But the article goes far beyond that, and Benitez offers his opinions on a wide range of topics - including Newcastle's success this season, his moment of the campaign, Premier League finances, his philosophy on football, and on Pepe Reina's future.

Below are the highlights from a fascinating Benitez interview: Rafa on how Newcastle achieved survival with time to spare - and a top-10 finish: "We have completed a great season. A team that comes from the Championship has to fight with those who have a lot more money.

"Everyone believes that Premier League teams earn a lot, but the reality is not so; not everyone receives big money all the time.

"For a team that goes up into the Premier League and then, to have done what we have done - working as a team, being safe with five games left - is almost a miracle.

"In the end, it paid off. Most of this year's squad was with us in the Championship and they have done so well. We have manoeuvred well around the pitch, but in the end, as in all leagues, quality counts."

On the 'most beautiful moment of the season': "There are many - with these fans, who have always been so close to me. If I have to choose one, I'll pick the victory against Manchester United. That was fundamental for us. It was a match that gave us, and everyone involved with the club, confidence: the fans, players, staff. After this, everyone believed in us and knew we could do it."

On whether Newcastle's success this season shows a triumph of 'ideas' over 'money': "Finishing ahead of so many teams is difficult, so it must be said that my players have tremendous spirit.

"I always talk about money, yes, because it's just as important as teamwork. Here, television companies allow clubs to earn PS110m-PS120m, while whose who come up to the Premier League do not have the money at their disposal. …

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