Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez addresses speculation linking him with Everton

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez has reiterated his commitment to Newcastle United – after being linked with the vacant Everton post.

Benitez was reportedly a target for the Premier League club after they sacked Ronald Koeman on Monday.

However, United’s manager has distanced himself from speculation ahead of Monday night’s game against Burnley at Turf Moor.

“I read in the press, and heard people talking, but I’m happy here,” said former Liverpool manager Benitez, whose family still live on Merseyside.

“I’m concentrating on this – I don’t like to talk about rumours.

“The reality, obviously, is that my family is in Liverpool.

I read in the press, and heard people talking, but I’m happy here.

Rafa Benitez

“But my past was Liverpool. Everton’s a great club. I’m not saying I’m interested. I’m saying I’m happy here and want to concentrate on Newcastle and try to do my best here.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche is one of the favourites to succeed Koeman at Goodison Park.

Dyche’s side are eighth in the table, a point behind Newcastle, and Benitez praised the job he’s done at Turf Moor ahead of the televised meeting between the two clubs.

“He’s doing a great job,” said Benitez. “Obviously, they’re doing well in the Premier League, and to be there a couple of years means you have the experience that you need to know exactly what’s going on. He’s doing well. Can he go to another team and do well? I think so. He’s proved that he can do it.

“They’re doing well. They’re well-organised, are in a good position in the table and they play with confidence, so it’s always an advantage if you want to go and compete in every game.”

Meanwhile, Benitez was asked about the ongoing takeover talks at the club, which was put up for sale by owner Mike Ashley last week, at his pre-match press conference.

Asked if he had an update, Benitez said: “No, nothing.

“I said before that we’re not talking too much about that, and I think some players have said the same. We’re not talking about that. We’re just concentrating on trying to prepare for the games.”