Rafael Benitez has insisted he is willing to commit his future to Newcastle United, on the condition that Mike Ashley finally loosens the purse-strings and invests in the future of his club.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Benitez insisted that he and his coaching staff are looking to be part of an ambitious, competitive project – with Ashley's dealings in recent years suggesting that the Magpies may not represent that.
"The owner (Mike Ashley) knows it: me and my team are looking for a future project," Benitez said. "Competitive and ambitious.
"I stayed in Newcastle and it was a high risk.
The Spaniard insisted that the club should have received proper financial backing after their stellar return to the Premier League, to ensure that they didn't have to focus on the prospect of a relegation battle.
"Then the idea was to invest to enter the top ten, but the money did not reach the expected level.
"Newcastle has everything to be there, in the top eight, but it is not happening.
Ohh dear Dubravka! 臘♀️臘♂️— 90min (@90min_Football) February 11, 2019
Newcastle missed out on the chance to go 3 points clear of the drop zone after this last minute howler! pic.twitter.com/sw0a3O6e9g
Highlighting the significance of a strong finish to the season, Benitez said:
The former Liverpool manager also tried to assure Magpies fans that he was still just as dedicated to his job, adding: