Rafa Benitez says he’ll take everything “thrown at him” at Newcastle United – until the last ball is kicked.
The club could be relegated tonight by arch-rivals Sunderland, who take on Everton at the Stadium of Light.
A win for Sam Allardyce’s side would condemn Newcastle, held to a goalless draw by Aston Villa at the weekend, to the Championship.
The third-bottom Tynesiders’ only hope is that Sunderland claim one point or fewer from their final two games.
Benitez – whose team host Tottenham in their final game on Sunday – could walk away from the job he took in March in the event of relegation because of a clause in his contract.
The 56-year-old has been preparing his team for what could be his last game in charge of the club. And the hugely-experienced manager – who started the season at Real Madrid – is ready for anything in the coming hours and days. “If you are a professional, then you take what is thrown at you,” said Benitez.
“I was in Naples after winning the Super Cup, then I went to Madrid and we did what we had to do, staying high in the table, but then they changed things.”
Benitez took the job at United because he believed in the potential of the club and its squad. However, that potential may never be realised under Benitez – if Newcastle are relegated.
“I accepted this challenge because, for me, it was an opportunity to come back to the Premier League and try to show to everyone that we could do well,” he said.
“I had confidence in the potential of the club and the players. We have been fighting right up until (Villa), and maybe things could have been different.”