Update: Newcastle appoint Rafael Benitez as new manager
- Credit: PA
Rafael Benitez has signed a three-year deal to become the new manager of Newcastle, after Steve McClaren was finally put out of his misery this morning when he was sacked six days after his position became untenable.
Benitez, who was sacked as manager of Real Madrid earlier this season, has been handed the job of attempting to steer Newcastle to Premier League survival, with the club second-from-bottom heading into the weekend.
He said in a statement released by the club: 'I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League.
'It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the club and the fans.'
Benitez's appointment followed swiftly on from the dismissal of McClaren, who was relieved of his duties this morning.
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A club statement said: 'After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday, the club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren's employment with the club will end with immediate effect.
'We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise. However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the club at heart.'
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The Magpies now continue preparations for Monday night's trip to leaders Leicester, before Benitez's first home game, against bitter rivals Sunderland on March 20, perhaps the biggest Tyne-Wear derby in years with both clubs battling the drop.
Newcastle then make the trip to their other main rival in the survival scrap, Norwich City, on Saturday, April 2.