The new Newcastle United manager reveals he did not consider waiting to take charge as it would mean fewer points for him to fight for.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has revealed to the Chronicle that he was advised to sit out Monday night's trip to Leicester City but chose not to as he is desperate begin changing the club's fortunes as the earliest possibly opportunity.
Benitez was appointed as replacement to the sacked Steve McClaren on Friday and faces a tough trip to league leaders the Foxes just three days after taking charge.
The former European Cup-winning manager faces one of the most difficult challenges of his managerial career on Tyneside, and revealed he was advised by a close friend to take some more time before taking charge of his new squad on a matchday.
However, the 55-year-old told the Chronicle that he insisted on assuming control immediately as time is so precious to the North East side in their battle to avoid relegation.
The Spaniard said: "A good friend of mine told me not to take the team against Leicester. He said: ‘Wait a little bit’. I told him no - this is the first opportunity to change things.
"I could have waited and something might have changed against Leicester and then it would have meant less possibilities to win or get points or achieve what I want. I will take the risk right now.
"Everybody expects that it will be too early against Leicester because I didn’t have time. But we will see what happens, it’s football. Our priority is to put a good team on the pitch a team with confidence to beat Leicester."
Benitez counts the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool, the Europa League with Chelsea, and two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia amongst his honours as a manager, but is facing a different kind of task altogether at St. James' Park.
Following last week's 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth, the Magpies have lost five of their last six in all competitions and sit second-bottom of the Premier League table ahead of the trip to league leaders Leicester on Monday night.
However, the Magpies do have two games in hand over most of their fellow strugglers, and a surprise victory at the King Power Stadium would see them move two points clear of Sunderland and Norwich City.