Rafa Benitez insists Mike Ashley’s visit was a boost for his squad.

The Newcastle manager has insisted Newcastle will "100pc stay in the Premier League."

But Benitez says is could take a while to turn around their fortunes warning: "You can’t buy confidence on the fifth floor of John Lewis."

Sports Direct tycoon took Benitez and his squad for a bonding night on Wednesday.

Ahead of their visit to Manchester United , Benitez said: "I am convinced 100pc we will stay in the Premier League.

"I have seen these things for years. Players, what they have to do on the pitch it key. In the games, key. But little things can help.

"I do not see a negative having the team together and enjoying time.

"It was a pleasant dinner. That is it. Everything we talked about will stay between us.

"Normally all teams we have deals with the owner and president. It is common in football.

"We talked about everything, now concentrate on football.

"The players were fine, everyone relaxed. We talked about Man U and what we have to do to beat them.

"It is very common in any team to have dinners, with directors staff everyone. All countries not just here.


"The mood is good. We have good days and bad days. But overall it is positive. The training sessions are good. They are focused.

"We can say it is positive too. I am realistic and optimistic. It is a long run race. We have to carry on. We did it last year. The players worked hard. It is a question of time. We play teams at our level. The first win gives us confidence."

Benitez says Newcastle won’t be tacking a weakened Manchester United side.

He added: "I don’t remember any fragile Man U team. Good managers, good teams, good players. I see a team everyone expected to be higher but it is a question of time..

"Like us. Last year we were in bottom three. Teams who spend money are at the top, teams who didn’t spend much are at the bottom."

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