The new Newcastle boss will be allowed to leave if the club are relegated - but how does that help motivate him for the survival run-in?
"‘Scared’ is not the word. I know that it is a difficult situation but, believe me, I’ve done the maths. It is positive."
Which is a good thing, of course. In no universe would it not be. Except for the fact Rafa may actually not fear relegation at all - but for a very different, more cynical reason.
Indeed, according to BBC Sport among others, Benitez has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Newcastle should the club get relegated.
The clause makes perfect sense. The Magpies may not have been able to attract the Spaniard without it. Benitez is being backed by many to keep Newcastle up but he has never managed in the Championship. Would he really want to if there were other offers out there?
But, at the same time, the clause brings a big risk. As stated, Benitez will no longer 'fear' relegation as such - because he knows he won't be relegated if he doesn't want to.
It could eventually act as a demotivational tool. The Spaniard's personal fortunes will be detached from that of his team. For, if Newcastle are all but dead and buried with five games to go, would their new manager really care if he knows he'll leave when the worst-case scenario happens...?