Rafa Benitez has told talkSPORT his relationship with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is not as bad as many people think it is.
Ashley has owned the Magpies since 2007, yet he’s remained a controversial figure in the decade since. Thrice he has announced his attention to sell the Tyneside club, with Newcastle listed for sale most recently in October 2017; a proposed buy-out by Amanda Staveley is yet to be completed.
Ashley has owned Newcastle since 2007
Benitez has had a fractious relationship with Ashley since being appointed Newcastle manager in 2016. He has consistently asked for increased backing in the transfer market, and repeated that message in April after guiding the St James’ Park club to Premier League survival.
The former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss is expected to sign a new deal with the Magpies, though he wants assurances from Ashley that the two of them are on the same page regarding the club’s future plans.
Despite all these rumours of a poor relationship between himself and Ashley, Benitez joined talkSPORT to downplay the widely held view that the pair do not get along.
Speaking to Guillem Balague, Benitez said: “My relationship with the owners normally isn’t as bad as people maybe think it is, because I am fighting for the best for my club. I’m not fighting for what’s best for Rafa Benitez.
“Normally I never have a problem with my contract because it’s more or less; it’s just I want to improve the facilities, I want to improve the academy, I want to bring [in] better players and be more competitive like that.
“The fans appreciate that; it’s been the same in Napoli, Liverpool, here, Valencia – they appreciate that.
Ashley guided Newcastle to Premier League survival and ended the season with a 3-1 defeat of Chelsea
“Then for professionals if they have this vision, they can go one step back and say: ‘It’s improving my team; it’s improving my club; it’s improving my business.’
“I think people professionally realise, and then perceptively it depends now the social network changed everything in one minute.
“Some people can criticise you today and in two days’ time they’re praising you.
“If you realise now that it’s like this, then you stay calm and you make decisions in a better way.
“So if you are too hurried to do something you will make more mistakes, so you have to stay calm.”
You can watch the full interview with Benitez and Balague below:
“I'm fighting for the best for my club!”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) May 22, 2018