Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed that he has a break clause in his contract should they be relegated from the Premier League this season. The Magpies are second-bottom, one point from safety with 10 games left.

When asked about the clause, the Spaniard, 55, said: “Some people can see this as special, but it’s normal. I am trying to stay in the Premier League and if I have a compromise for the future, it’s because I am convinced that we will do well. I want to stay.”

Benitez, who was appointed on Friday after the sacking of Steve McClaren, believes he has enough quality to survive in the top flight.

“I am convinced we will [stay up],” he said on Saturday in his first news conference as Newcastle boss. I am here because I believe these players are good enough.”

Benitez hailed the “positive atmosphere” he found at St James’ Park and praised the squad for their attitude in training. “At the first moment, we wanted to train,” he said. “Credit to the players on their day off – they wanted to train. It was a great atmosphere.”

His first game in charge is tomorrow’s Premier League trip to leaders Leicester.
The former Liverpool boss revealed he had already sought advice on the club from Newcastle greats Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley, who is the club’s under-21 coach. “They know the city and the fans – the passion,” he said.