Benitez focused on promotion as he marks Newcastle anniversary

Date published: Friday 10th March 2017 8:21

Newcastle United: On the brink of promotion

Rafael Benitez will celebrate a year as Newcastle manager on Saturday focused only on the task of guiding the club back into the Premier League.

The 56-year-old Spaniard was unable to prevent the Magpies from sliding into the Sky Bet Championship at the end of last season, but heads into the home clash against Fulham with a three-point lead at the top of the table.

Asked about the anniversary, Benitez said: “I didn’t realise until I was told. Another year – that means you are getting older.

“It has been a great experience and the main thing is to see the club going in the right direction. I have some good memories. To be relegated was the worst thing but after, the reaction of everyone has been fantastic.

“This week we have had very good results against the teams at the top of the table, so they are more good memories. Hopefully the best one will be at the end of the season.”

Newcastle will attempt to extend their unbeaten league run to 12 games when Fulham, who have themselves not lost in six, head for St James’ Park desperate to force their way into the play-off picture.

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