English Premier League Sport

Rafael Benitez: Newcastle boss says teams with more money want him in charge

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez says he has rejected various offers to take charge at other clubs, despite the prospect of larger budgets there.

After a good run in November, the Magpies have slipped to within two points of the relegation zone, and have yet to make signings in January.

“I had teams, agents, talking with more money than here,” said Benitez.

“The reality is we have to compete in a division when we cannot compete against Bournemouth, who are spending money.”

Newcastle have equalled their lowest points tally after 21 matches of a Premier League season – they also had 18 at this stage in 2015-16, when they were relegated – amid ongoing uncertainty about a possible takeover.

Owner Mike Ashley put Newcastle up for sale in October 2017 having bought the club 10 years earlier.

Supporters stayed out of their seats until the 11th minute of the game against West Ham in December to protest against Ashley’s 11-year tenure.

But former Valencia and Liverpool boss Benitez insisted he did not share the fans’ frustration over the lack of new signings, despite claims that he and Ashley do not speak directly.

“I said before, I wanted to come to England, to stay close to my family and then this club was an opportunity, to be in one of the top 10,” the 58-year-old added.

“Still I want to do something here, I want to stay in England.

“I’m close to my family, the fans have been fantastic, so you try to do something properly. It’s a challenge, but it’s a risk.”Benitez was named Premier League manager of the month for November, with the Magpies beginning the month 19th in the table with no wins from their first 10 games, before three straight victories moved them out of the relegation zone.

But recent defeats by Liverpool and Manchester United and draws with Watford and Fulham mean Newcastle are now seeking a first Premier League win in five matches, and they return to Benitez’s former club Chelsea, currently in fourth place, on Saturday.

“Forget about the top six, we have to compete against the others and we have to be realistic,” said Benitez.

“That doesn’t mean you are negative [but] realistic – because you have the experience.”

Source: BBC

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