Rafa Benitez slams Newcastle exit claims and explains appointment decision

“The reality is we have to compete in a division when we cannot compete with Bournemouth who are spending money. Forget about the top six, we have to compete against the others and have to be realistic.

“Am I happy going into every game saying “Can we get a point, can we get three?” No, but I have to do it. If I make a mistake with team selection or tactics whatever. Fine. But in my experience, I am not better than others but I make less mistakes.”

Benitez looks set to leave when his contract expires in June but still believes Newcastle, with better backing from its owner, can hit greater heights.

“We have to do things a bit better if we want to maximise the potential of the club,” he said in thinly veiled dig at owner Mike Ashley.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, meanwhile, has rebuked Bayern Munich for their public pursuit of Callum Hudson-Odoi.