RAFA BENITEZ has told Mike Ashley that he is not the man for another relegation fight at Newcastle United.

The Spaniard’s contract situation is still in limbo with only three matches remaining of the Premier League season, and there does not seem to a resolution any closer.

Benitez wants assurances about the club’s ambitions before he commits to an extension on the deal which is due to expire on June 30.

The Newcastle manager has made no secret of his desire to lead the Magpies into a more successful period, having ensured there will be top-flight football on Tyneside for the third year in a row.

But he has offered no guarantees about his future ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton, even if he was keen to stress that he does not want to put any pressure on Ashley and the Newcastle board.

The former Liverpool boss said: “I used to compete for titles and I would like to be sure that we can compete against anyone. I am not happy when you go and you play against a top side and if it's a draw, maybe you have to be happy. I'm not happy with that.

“I used to do it since I was in the Academy of Real Madrid. I like to win – like everyone - but when you are used to doing that for a while, you want to do it.

“Then I am realistic at the same time. I understand that each club has its own potential and each one has to decide what they want to do or what they can do, that's it, fine.

“For me, if I can compete, I would like to compete for something more and if you cannot, then you have to manage and be realistic.

“When I was talking about 'a miracle', some people were criticising, 'He said this, he said that...', but you can see that the players reacted really well and we are in a fantastic position.

“But what I was trying to say is that this club with the potential that we have, we can compete and we want to compete, or at lest I want to compete, to go into any game and try to win something.

“We talk about the cups and, 'Oh, we don't compete in the cups...' - I want to compete and try to win trophies, but you cannot compete in the cups when you at the bottom of the table and you have a risk of two or three key players injured and then you don't have the replacements.

“It’s just so simple to understand, that's it. I don't want to do anything, I don't want to push anyone, it's just to be sure where we are and if we are clear, we move forward.

“If we can do the right things, we can compete. For what? If we can compete and then try to at least be close to winning something...

“But we have to do things right - I don't say this is wrong, but right fo my point of view. You can bring in another manager and then maybe he will be happy if they do well and they finish 15th. I would like to do something more, if it's possible."

with a number of injury problems. Jamaal Lascelles looks set to miss out through illness, although Fabian Schar has recovered from a glute problem so should start.

Benitez said: “The bad news is we have Sean Longstaff, Florian Lejeune and now Miguel Almiron out, three weeks and we will see how he progresses. Lascelles we have lost because he has a stomach bug, illness, nothing serious.

“I think Schar, DeAndre Yedlin will be available. Miguel is fine, he went to see a specialist in Spain, started his treatment and everything going to plan. It is quite positive and he is a good professional.”

On keeping Newcastle up, Benitez added: “It’s really good that Newcastle will be there, we knew from the beginning it would be difficult, it would be tough, but we did well.

“I know the numbers are the same as last year, but last year – when I tried to explain the difference - but last year we were safe with five to play, this year we are safe with three to play which suggests this year was a bit more difficult.

“At the beginning when we started to lose games, I could see a lot of pundits saying Newcastle would be relegated for sure. After, little by little, you could see we were consistent, I talk about balance and consistency, and we have done that. Credit to this group of players, fighting for each other, the fans, the shirt, and they have been consistent.”