Rafael Benitez admitted he wants to “compete for something more” as he implored Newcastle United to match their fans’ ambition.
Magpies boss Benitez took charge at St James’ Park for the final time this season in a rollercoaster 3-2 defeat to former club Liverpool on Saturday.
The Spaniard was serenaded by supporters as Newcastle completed a lap of honour after full-time but uncertainty lingers over whether he will return next term.
Benitez has long suggested that greater support in the transfer market will be needed to keep him on Tyneside, an issue magnified by the slide from last season’s 10th-place finish in the Premier League.
And with his contract nearing expiry, owner Mike Ashley may have to accept certain demands to keep the Champions League-winning manager.
“We have had conversations and will have conversations in the next couple of weeks and see where we are,” Benitez said.
“It’s so simple. You can see the potential, you can feel the passion of the fans and what the club means to them.
RAFA’S REVIEW: Here’s what Rafa Benítez had to say after tonight’s game against his old club, @LFC…
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 4, 2019
“We have to try to compete with the teams around us. At the moment it’s not easy. I’m really proud and pleased that we’ve stayed up but I would like to compete for something more.
“Hopefully we can match the ambitions of the fans.”
Newcastle threatened to deliver Liverpool’s title bid a huge blow until substitute Divock Origi forced in a Xherdan Shaqiri free-kick in the 86th minute.
Benitez’s reservations over the attitudes above do not extend to a squad that gave Jurgen Klopp’s side a fright.
“I think the way we were playing, the commitment of the players and togetherness of players and fans was crucial,” he said.
“The performance was quite good. I’m really proud of the players. To play against one of the best teams in Europe, every single Newcastle fan has to be happy with that.”
Newcastle round out the campaign away to Fulham next Sunday.
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