'Now is the time to enjoy' - Rafa Benitez tight-lipped on Newcastle future after ending season in style

Jordan Mansfield
The Magpies finished their inconsistent 2018-19 campaign with their biggest win of the year over Fulham, a result that left their boss more than happy

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez declined to confirm his future at St. James' Park after watching his team give one of their best displays of the season in Sunday's final round of Premier League fixtures. 

Already relegated Fulham were taken to pieces by the Magpies in a one-sided clash at Craven Cottage. 

Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez put the visitors two goals ahead after little more than 10 minutes, before Fabian Schar and Salomon Rondon rounded off a fine 4-0 victory after half time. 

The win was Newcastle's biggest in the entire campaign and helped secure 13th place ahead of Bournemouth and Burnley; and Rafa was delighted to see his men sign off on 2018-19 with a flourish.

"It was a great game. The early goal helped us a bit when they were pressing," the Spaniard explained to reporters after the final whistle.

"We had the experience on the counter attack. The third goal killed the game. Credit to them because they were pushing then.

"I am really proud of this group of players and the fans were amazing as well.

"Finishing 13th is important for everyone. It is a good position and I am really pleased.

"Now is the time to enjoy and the fans will go back happy. I am really proud. This group of players, even in bad times, never had their heads down they were still believing and working hard."

Despite his happiness at the result, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss stopped short of confirming whether he would remain at the club next season.

"I said before that I have seen potential but now is the time to enjoy," he stated when asked what the future held.

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Benitez added to Match of the Day after the final whistle: "I am really pleased. This group of players from beginning until the end have worked really hard. We never gave up, even when we were safe in the last three games they were still giving everything.

"We have one more point than last season but couldn't finish 10th so it proves this season has been more difficult than last season."

"Talks with Mike Ashley? We will meet hopefully this week and see where we are. We have plenty of time to enjoy, I have been very clear about the potential of this club."