Rafa Benitez says Newcastle can be one of the top sides in England

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

Benitez will take charge of his first full season at Newcastle with the side in the Championship.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conferenceNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conference

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has said they can become one of the top sides in England, despite their relegation to the Championship. 

Benitez provided something of a silver lining to the club's predicament by committing himself to the club even with the side dropping down a division next season as they looks to bring them back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. 

Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic shoots at goalNewcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic shoots at goal

He has, however, insisted that hard work is going to be needed if they are to return to the top flight after just one absence.

The Spaniard told the Chronicle: “I think we can be one of the top sides in England - but we have to be sure we approach this next season with the right mentality.

“It will require hard work, intensity, the same passion and the same commitment we saw in the last games of last season. We can’t think the job is done just because we have a fantastic club and fantastic fans.

“We have to be sure we work as hard as anybody in the division. If we play against better players we must work as hard as them and we’ll win games.”

As part of Benitez's agreement to continue as Newcastle manager after taking over for the final 10 games of last season was that he could have full control of all footballing matters.

A lot has been said in recent years about the potential the club has with its fan base, location and that it's usually in the top flight to be able to establish itself towards the top of the English game. Newcastle have failed to do that on a consistent basis since the days of Sir Bobby Robson's tenure at the club. 

Newcastle fans with an inflatable ballNewcastle fans with an inflatable ball

Benitez has the opportunity to try and fulfill that potential by building a club truly in his image by having a good go at getting the best out of the academy as well as signing players that suit his needs in order to ensure their progression up the ladder.

For the side to be one of the best in England, it might take longer than the three years that Benitez has signed up to for the Spaniard to achieve that particular goal with the club, but if there are continuing signs of progress, he may well get time to try and turn that claim into more of a reality. 

Next season does represent a massive challenge as many teams will see Newcastle as a big scalp and are likely to raise their game against them. Benitez certainly doesn't want his players to take any task put in front of them lightly. 

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez

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