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 By PA Sport

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez plans to manage into his 70s

Rafael Benitez is confident he will match Roy Hodgson and still be a manager at 70.

The 57-year-old Spaniard will go head to head with the former England boss on Sunday as he takes his Newcastle side to Selhurst Park for a crucial Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

The Eagles have dragged themselves up the table since Hodgson replaced Frank De Boer in September and brought his wealth of experience, and Benitez can see himself carrying on just as long.

Asked if he would still be managing at 70, he said: "At the moment, I have to say yes, obviously, because I like the passion of football, I like my job.

"You have managers doing the job for years because of the energy that we have, the passion and the desire for winning that we have. With the desire for winning I have, I cannot see a normal life for myself."

Benitez admits there are times when the subject of retirement is raised at home, but soon discounted.

Rafael Benitez
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, 57, has no plans to retire anytime soon.

He said: "My wife and my daughters, but especially my wife, say, 'Hello, haven't you had enough, stay here.'

"But at the same time, when you are at home and you are moving plates and glasses around the kitchen in 4-4-2, they say, 'Go.'

"The main thing is to have health. If you are healthy, you can continue and I am fine, touch wood. I'm fine. Normally I don't drink and I don't smoke, so that's it, I'm fine."

Benitez is currently putting what he has learned throughout his career to date to good use at St James' Park in an effort to keep the promoted club in the Premier League.

He said: "We are in a learning process. People say, 'You have to learn quicker' -- yes we have to learn quickly and we are improving, but the priority for any promoted team is to stay up.

"Next year, you have more experience, more money and maybe you can pick better players up. If you want to compete against Premier league teams, you have to stay there.

"The 52,000, this city, everything we say about the club that is massive, will have more effect because we will be established in the Premier League."


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