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Everton interested in Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez

Everton interested in Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez

Antonio Conte, in what may have been his last game as Chelsea boss in the Premier League, chose to make a number of changes for the clash with the Magpies, with the Italian deciding to make a total of eight from their disappointing draw with Huddersfield Town during the week.

The Geordies sang his name throughout this rousing finale, his team ending the campaign with a flourish in a comprehensive dismantling of Chelsea's tenuous and flimsy Champions League aspirations.

That condemns them to a place in the less prestigious Europa League next season.

The midfielder put in a man-of-the-match display against Chelsea on the final day as the Magpies strolled to an impressive 3-0 victory. While they failed in their task, it was rendered academic as Jurgen Klopp's Champions League finalists ran out comfortable winners against Brighton.

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The visitors were completely flat during the game and looked to be on holiday already, despite having the FA Cup final to play next weekend against Manchester United.

Rafa Benitez will meet Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley on Sunday for talks which will determine his future on Tyneside, with the manager still none the wiser what the transfer budget is for next season.

Benitez managed to keep Newcastle in the Premier League this season despite being limited in the transfer market, with a strong reliance on loan deals of late.

Ashley said: "I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season".