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Ashley 'hopes very much' that Benitez stays at Newcastle

Ashley 'hopes very much' that Benitez stays at Newcastle

Newcastle earned a deserved win at St James' Park.

"I said before the game it is not about finishing 10th".

But one thing is for sure, Jonjo Shelvey is destined for greater things if he can remain honest. "We have to have confidence in this team".

"I'm a Newcastle player, I'm happy here, I'm the captain and things are going really well".

He's extraordinarily reluctant to repeat final summer season's bewildering switch marketing campaign which noticed the membership miss out on all of Benitez's precedence targets. Without some cast-iron guarantees on both scores, he will not be signing up to an extended stay.

"We are talking about a young English centre-back and there are not too many English centre-backs who are young, who can play in the Premier League".

What do you make of the Chelsea players antics today?

"There is more respect for the coach's job".

It is no coincidence that the two teams set to contest this year's Champions League final later this month in Kiev have been managed by Benitez. "We need a squad that has to be capable of competing in the Premier League".

Lascelles is also an influential figure off the pitch, having galvanised the dressing room in the wake of relegation two years ago. There were similar scenes yesterday, with the Spaniard being serenaded from all four corners of the ground as he led his squad on a post-match lap of honour. "For him, it was massive to be sure that they could be in the Champions League".

"The fans appreciate this togetherness, and the relationship we have created".

While the Spanish manager has options in most areas of the pitch, with Kenedy and Atsu out it leaves just Jacob Murphy as the only senior winger at his disposal - and he faces 90 minutes to save his Magpies career ahead of the summer in what seems a guaranteed start. He's got the club together, the city together, and everything has been positive. This year was about survival, but we have done more than that.

"A lot of people have been asking whether it is a bigger achievement than Istanbul in 2005".

One ray of sunshine though has threatened to banish the rainy days that surrounded us under Ashley and even with the danger of storm clouds looming in the distance, these have been kept at bay by the growing proof that Rafa Benitez's project does look like it has the potential to bear fruit. "You hear about rumours, but I'm just concentrating on Newcastle".

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