Rafael Benitez: I wanted to stay at Newcastle United

Newcastle United's owners did not show a desire to make the club competitive at the top of the Premier League, according to Rafael Benitez.

Rafael Benitez has insisted he wanted to remain at Newcastle United.   -  Getty Images

Rafael Benitez has insisted he wanted to remain in charge of Newcastle United as he prepares to take over at Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.

Benitez left Newcastle last week, much to the chagrin of Newcastle's supporters, who were desperate for the club to secure the former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager to a new contract. Having joined Newcastle in March 2016, Benitez failed to save the Magpies from Premier League relegation but guided them straight back to the top flight before securing a 10th-place finish in 2017-18 and 13th last term.

During his time at St James' Park, Benitez was not shy in airing his frustration with Newcastle's ownership, who he believed failed to back him in the transfer market.

'I wanted to stay, 100 percent'

Dalian Yifang looks set to be the next step in Benitez's career, but he has claimed he had no wish to leave Newcastle, adding he did not demand power or control at the club.

"I wanted to stay, 100 per cent," Benitez told The Times. "I wanted to develop a project, to be competitive, to compete in the cups and to be as close as possible to the top of the league, but you have to have the tools.

"If you don't, then you suffer, because you're at the bottom of the table, every point is massive and you know that a mistake could mean relegation. That responsibility, the fact we were suffering in every game just to get a draw, is something I couldn't manage for another three years. I couldn't stay there just to be bottom.

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"It wasn't my idea when I went to Newcastle. The idea was the top 10, top eight and then maybe try for Europe later on. If the people at the top of the club had the same ideas, I would still be there. People talk about power, money and control, but it wasn't about that. It was about doing things right."

'Different views'

And Benitez believes the club's ownership were pulling in a different direction, affirming that resources should have been made available to allow him to push Newcastle up the league.

"I had the feeling they were really pleased for me to stay at the beginning, but when we had different views in terms of how to move forward, I couldn't see this support," he said.

"I couldn't see this clear desire I could feel at the beginning. I knew from day one that you could not compete against the top six, that you cannot spend GBP 100 million every year.

"The reason I wasn't happy was because we weren't competing. We could have done more with the resources we had."

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