Ayoze Perez credits Rafa Benitez for keeping Newcastle in the Premier League

Perez: "The wish of everyone at the club is for Rafa to stay"

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United celebrates with Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United following the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton FC at St. James Park on March 09, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Image: Rafa Benitez 'know what he is talking about', says Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez believes Newcastle are now safe from relegation, but doubts that would be the case if Rafael Benitez was not in charge.

Perez's eighth goal of the season earned them a 1-0 win at Leicester on Friday to move the Magpies onto 38 points, 10 points clear of Cardiff in 18th.

Newcastle have four games left and have to play Southampton, Brighton and Fulham - all teams below them - along with Liverpool.

"It's fair enough to say we're a Premier League team again next season, it was a great effort from the lads and a great three points," Perez said.

"We're still very professional and know we can get even better and carry on the same way. We have four to go and we have the ambition to keep climbing the table.

"It should be a great win for the team, we fought really hard against a good side in a tough place. But we came here and got the three points."

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Highlights from Newcastle's 1-0 win against Leicester in the Premier League

Afterwards, boss Benitez, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, hinted he is ready to stay now safety is virtually assured.

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And Perez feels without the former Liverpool manager in charge the Magpies may have gone down.

"The team has achieved great things but maybe with another manager we would have struggled even more," he said.

"That's what happened in my second season here, we were relegated with a great team.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates with teammate Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Newcastle United at The King Power Stadium on April 12, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Image: Perez celebrates after opening the scoring against Leicester on Friday night

"You have to suffer and work hard otherwise you are going to be even lower in the Premier League and we would have been fighting relegation.

"We have to stick to the plan, do what the manager wants because he has been in football for many years and he knows what he's talking about."

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Perez also added to the calls for his fellow Spaniard Benitez to stay, but knows it is out of the players' control.

He said: "It's not in our hands. That will need to get sorted and we need to focus on football and finishing in a better position than we did last season.

"Obviously winning makes everything easier but it's still something the manager and the club have to sort out.

"The wish of everyone at the club is for Rafa to stay."

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