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Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United Secure Promotion Back To The Premier League

IPSWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Newcastle United at Portman Road on April 17, 2017 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Newcastle United have secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Manager Rafa Benítez and his side were relegated at the end of the last campaign but will be playing in the top tier of English football once again next season thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 win against ten-man Preston North End on Monday night.

Indeed, while the Magpies were seen as heavy favourites to win promotion from the Championship this year, a run of form that has seen then win just three of their last nine matches has caused them to stumble over the finish line somewhat.

The home side took the lead after just seven minutes courtesy of Ayoze Perez, but they made life difficult for themselves, as they have tended to do so often in recent weeks, by conceding less than ten minutes later through Jordan Hugill.

However, Newcastle were not to be denied on this occasion, and Christian Atsu’s effort on the stroke of half time restored their lead. Matt Ritchie doubled the advantage from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, before Ayoze added his second and the Magpies’ fourth two minutes later.

Newcastle had chances to add more gloss to the scoreline, but 4-1 was more than enough to get the job done.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Matt Ritchie of Newcastle United celebrates as he scores their third goal from a penalty during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St James' Park on April 24, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A financial outlay of almost £60m (admittedly with a profit of £30m for their summer business) on the likes of Matt Rtichie, Dwight Gayle and Ciaran Clark gave them arguably the strongest squad in the divison, but Newcastle found themselves trailing Chris Hughton’s Brighton when it mattered most this season.

Benítez staying at the club in the summer was also seen as a huge boost to the north-east side, and after a period of managerial instability having a strong personality with a proven track record of success gave them their best chance of going up immediately.

Nonetheless, Benítez made a point of stating that he didn’t care whether finished first or second this season as long as they went up, and while they still have a chance of leapfrogging the Seagulls into top spot in the remaining two games, the former Liverpool manager will be satisfied with his team’s season regardless.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: A giant flag of Rafa Benitez flutters in the Gallowgate end before the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 20, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

With Brighton and Newcastle clinching the automatic spots, attention now turns to the one remaining place via the playoffs. Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield, Fulham and Leeds are all in contention right now, but one of those sides involved is set to miss out on a place in the top six.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.