Rafael Benitez has revealed he consulted with a number of players from Newcastle’s glorious past before accepting the challenge of keeping the club in the Premier League.
Benitez, who has been linked with the job at St James’ on more than one occasion in the past, revealed he spoke to former Magpies Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen – but not managing director Lee Charnley until Steve McClaren had departed – before making his decision.
Addressing the media on Saturday, benitez said: “I’ve spoken to some legends here – Peter Beardsley is one of them, Alan Shearer – I was talking to him the other day – Michael Owen, people who know the city and the fans, the passion.
“All of them know this is a massive club and if you do things in the right way and you can stay in the Premier League, you can build and try to be a hero for the city.”
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Benitez has established his reputation in the game as a manager who wins major trophies with big clubs, and having spent the first half of the season working with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at the Bernabeu Stadium, he could face something of a culture shock on Tyneside.
However, he has no problem swapping the pursuit of silverware for a relegation battle.
He said: “When you’re going for trophies, you don’t want to make mistakes and when you’re fighting against relegation, it’s the same. In terms of the approach, it has to be similar.
“We have a good group of players, we have a quality squad. I expect 100 per cent from them and we need everything from everyone.”