Benitez was left angry and frustrated at owner Mike Ashley’s failure to back him in the transfer window, fuelling fears he could quit.

But despite his uneasy relationship with the club hierarchy, Benitez claims he is loving life at St James’ Park.

“The North East already feels like home for me,” he said. “I was made to feel so welcome by everybody at the club, the supporters and the city from my very first day.

“All I can do is continue to work hard every day and try my best to give them a team to be proud of.”