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Published: 11:16 | 17/3/16

Elliot: We must keep Rafa at Newcastle

Added incentive to avoid relegation

Rob Elliot has revealed that the Newcastle squad now have an added incentive to avoid relegation - they want to keep Rafa Benitez at the club.

The former Liverpool, Napoli and Real Madrid boss replaced Steve McClaren in the St James' Park hotseat last week, but has a break clause in his three-year deal should the club be relegated.

The Magpies currently sit 19th in the Barclays Premier League table after the Spaniard's first game in charge ended in a narrow defeat at table toppers Leicester, but goalkeeper Elliot believes that his arrival will spur the club to safety.

"If you'd said to me a couple of weeks ago that Rafa would be our manager, I'd have probably laughed," he said.

"But he's here and it's a fantastic opportunity for the players and this football club to move forward with him in charge.

"We just need to make sure that, one, we stay in the division, and two, that he's our manager for the next few years to build and take us to where we want to be.

"It's been great to have him on board. We haven't had too much time to work with him yet because he's just arrived, but his experience speaks for itself. It's been exciting and motivating for the players to have someone like the gaffer to come in.

"Just look at his calibre - he's just left Real Madrid. We're all aware that we need to work hard and listen to what he asks us to do so we can climb up the table as quickly as possible."

Newcastle's next game is crunch derby clash with local rivals Sunderland at St James' Park on Sunday.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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