Benitez has clause to leave if Newcastle are relegated

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed his deal at St James’ Park contains a break clause if the club are relegated from the Premier League.

Benitez was named as Steve McClaren’s successor on a three-year deal on Friday as the club, who sit 19th on 24 points, attempt to escape relegation to the Championship.

Speaking at his first media briefing in the role on Saturday, the former Real Madrid boss revealed he will be free to walk away if he is unable to lift Newcastle out of danger.

“It [a break clause] is normal,” he said. “But I am here to do my best and I’m convinced we can do well.”

Benitez called a training session almost immediately after being confirmed in the job on Friday to begin preparations for Monday’s trip to league-leaders Leicester City.

And the Spaniard praised his players for forgoing a day off.

“It’s been an intense start,” he said. “We wanted to train from the first moment and credit to the players for coming in from a day off.

“You know this is a massive club and it’s not doing what it should do. Hopefully we can make the fans proud again.

“I have some experience of relegation battles. I expect 100 per cent from the players every game.”

The 55-year-old was dismissed from his post at Madrid to end an unhappy tenure in January and said the draw of moving back to England to be close to his family was an important factor in taking on a seemingly poisoned chalice.

“I had offers from abroad,” he added. “But when I was at Liverpool we always talked about Newcastle as a massive club, the passion of the city.

“I’ve been away from my family in England for two and a half years that’s a big factor [in] why I’m back.”

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