Rafael Benitez has turned down approaches from other clubs to stay at Newcastle

Press Association Sport 11:01 12/01/2019
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Rafael Benitez has revealed he has turned down approaches from other clubs in order to stay at Newcastle.

Benitez returns to former club Chelsea on Saturday with the Magpies, who are chasing their first Premier League win in five matches.

The Spaniard’s squad has yet to be strengthened during the transfer window and as fans wait to learn of any progress with ongoing takeover talks, an air of despondency has descended on St James’ Park.

“I had teams, agents, talking with more money than here,” said Benitez, whose side have slipped to within two points of the drop zone.

“When I say more money, more money than here. But 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. Yes, it’s a risk.

“But it’s a challenge and I will try to do my best to win every single game.”

Benitez called on Newcastle’s fans, disillusioned with owner Mike Ashley’s perceived indifference towards the club, to unite in support of the players.

The former Valencia and Liverpool boss insisted he did not share the fans’ frustration over the lack of new signings, but could not help alluding to opportunities missed.

“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.” he said.

“You have the top six and then you could be there – between the seventh and the 10th. That was my view.

“We were trying. We couldn’t save the team in the first year and then we won the Championship, so we said ‘OK, now, is the time’.

Benitez returns to former club Chelsea this weekend.

Benitez returns to former club Chelsea this weekend.

“Then you say the first year is quite difficult, but we finished 10th, now is the time. Then it’s the third year, and you try, you try, but… (sigh).”

Benitez said a top-six challenge was currently beyond the club, but insisted he was not being negative.

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

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

“That doesn’t mean you are negative. Realistic, because you have the experience.”

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