Rafael Benitez insists he is not making demands to Newcastle United as he prepares for crunch talks that will determine his future at the club.
The former Real Madrid boss has led Newcastle to promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt following relegation last season and still hopes to secure the Championship title, with Brighton and Hove Albion one point clear going into the final day of the season on Sunday.
Benitez’s future is not yet certain, though, as final talks with owner Mike Ashley – which the Spaniard insists will determine the future of his players as well as his own – yet to take place after an initial phone conversation last week.
But Benitez has stressed he is not making demands over finances or players, amid reports he has asked for a £70million transfer budget.
“I have seen figures in the press saying, ‘Rafa is asking for this and that’,” Benitez told reporters.
“We are preparing an idea – a business plan – but I will not be asking for money. What I expect from the meeting is to talk about my ideas, their ideas, and see where we are. If we are close or could we be closer.
“But I am not demanding this and demanding that. I am a manager who uses common sense about everything. I have to hear the ambitions for the club but at the same time we have to be realistic.
“I have the same ambitions for this club as the fans, but I know we [me and Ashley] need to talk. [We have] not yet [held talks]. Hopefully next week we will talk about that.
“It’s not just my future, but the future of everyone here depends on this conversation. All the players are waiting. But all the speculation about players, about money, are not true.
“We are doing our job first, and trying to put everything in place. The club has to move in one direction or another. We have to wait and have the meeting and see where we are. Then we will start talking with the players about their future.”
RB: “We have to be ready, prepare properly and I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic.” #NUFC
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 5, 2017
Newcastle, who face Barnsley, will win the league if they can better Brighton’s result against Aston Villa.
“Promotion was the objective in the beginning – we wanted to break the record for away wins and have a chance to fight for the title and that is the situation,” said Benitez. “We are really pleased to get promoted, as that was the main thing.
“It would be really important to win the title. I would be happy. We want to go into the game with a smile and hopefully after the game we will have a bigger smile.”
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