Jamaal Lascelles: Newcastle must do everything to keep Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles says that the Magpies "must keep Rafael Benitez happy" amid speculation surrounding the Spaniard's future.

If this was to be farewell for the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid head coach, his players gave him a rousing send-off, as Perez struck twice after the break to add to Gayle's first-half opener to confirm an impressive 10th-place finish in their first season back in the top flight. Since he's been here, the club has been on the rise. "He's got the club together, the city together, and everything has been positive", Lascelles told Sky Sports News.

A top-four finish looked highly unlikely for the fifth-placed Blues a month ago, but they have cut the gap to just two points with one game left to play.

"As players, we've got to cross the white line but we follow instructions from somewhere, and that's the gaffer".

"I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season", Ashley wrote in a statement released after the game. "The club have got to keep him happy".

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The Blues who won the title last season are in danger of missing out on a place in the Champions League next term following a disappointing campaign.

"When I first came to the club there wasn't really a link between the fans and the players and he has just turned the whole city around. I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United".

Benitez - who signed the player during his tenure at Anfield - believes the 26-year-old, who has won six caps for his country, would be a useful option for Gareth Southgate to have in his 23-man party for Russian Federation.

But still without a call-up, and with Southgate's squad announced on Wednesday, Lascelles accepts the manager has his chosen defenders.

Benitez said: "The way that he has been behaving and playing during the season, especially at the end of the season, I think he is a different kind of midfielder so I am sure he will be in consideration".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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