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Rafa Benitez asked if he came face to face with Mike Ashley at Stamford Bridge

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The video will start in 8 Cancel Rafa Benitez did not hold any dialogue with Mike Ashley after the 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge - despite the owner making his first appearance at a game since November.

When asked if Ashley could see the problems on the field for United, Benitez said: “I think from the beginning of the season we know that we can get close, but that’s not enough.

His last outing to watch the Magpies came against AFC Bournemouth at St James’ Park after a run of seven consecutive games before Christmas.Back then Ashley had been branded an absent owner before making his return to discuss team politics over a pizza in Ponteland.

“But still we were are close each time.”Benitez was then asked if he had held any talks with Ashley, he replied: “No.

“It showed the players care, the team effort was there, the understanding was there and the game plan was there.

“Hopefully, everybody can see the effort is there and the players are trying their best.

“I knew that he was here.” Reflecting on United’s defeat against the Blues, Benitez said: “I think we did quite well for a while and after we conceded the first goal the reaction was positive.
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