'Pantomime villain' Mike Ashley makes transfer pledge to Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez

'Pantomime villain' Mike Ashley makes transfer pledge to Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez

Chelsea were denied a place in next season's Champions League when they were well beaten 3-0 at Newcastle as Liverpool easily beat Brighton.

The 24-year-old said: "It has been a good season for me".

"In this case I think the players what they did last season, what they did this year is massive".

When Rafael Benitez joined Real Madrid in June 2015, you always got the sense it was a marriage destined for a messy divorce.

"And the fans, the atmosphere here is togetherness, the relationship, the players they care, the manager, the staff, working together trying to achieve what we want to achieve". Everyone has had to adapt their game, I have come on quite a lot as a player and captain.

But Lascelles has shown that he can lead a group of professionals in the Premier League and help to keep them up, something not lost on Benitez who is not planning on letting him go over the summer.

"The fans, they have ambitions, we have ambitions".

Bernat has been second choice at Bayern Munich this season and it also remains to be seen whether Kenedy will look to move to Germany and risk sitting on the bench again or consider staying in the north east to benefit from playing regularly at St. James' Park. Give him some money to spend then.

Earlier, Benitez, when pressed on his future, said: 'What I would like is to be sure that the team is able to compete to finish above 10th. "The club have got to keep him happy".

"When you're flicking through Twitter or people say there's rumours about this, that and the other you're aware of it but I don't take any notice".

"I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season", said Ashley.

My job is to be sure that the players are focused on the last game and if we can do well, I will enjoy the moment.

They also know Chelsea need to win if they are to stand any chance of making the Champions League, something he recognises as a key priority for the Blues from his own brief spell at Stamford Bridge.

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