Rafa Benitez throws tentative peace offering in Mike Ashley’s direction after Newcastle win

Rafa Benitez throws tentative peace offering in Mike Ashley’s direction after Newcastle win

Whether it is accepted is another matter. Ashley does not appear to be too bothered if Benitez leaves. He is confident enough in his ability to keep the team up on a shoestring budget, but does not seem to be convinced he wants a manager who constantly challenges him to show more ambition.

However, with takeover talks fizzling out again, Ashley is not going anywhere soon, so he and Benitez are at least trying to be cordial.

“It’s fine having the owner back at games,” Benitez said. “It will not change my game plan, it will not change my substitutions, but it could be good if he comes. I certainly don’t think it is a bad thing.

“I don’t have any problems [if he wants to reengage] I’m open to any good ideas. “We can still have a successful season. I have belief that this team will stay up.

“If I seem happier and more positive, it is because we have won and we have taken three points. We have scored three goals and kept a clean sheet, I have to be positive.”

Newcastle’s hero here was Fabian Schar, who scored a brilliant individual goal and bundled another close-range effort home from a corner. The Magpie’s third goal was scored by Ayoze Perez, although Cardiff were well beaten by that point. The Welsh club had the stench of team heading for relegation.

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