Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has told the Chronicle that reestablishing the side's Premier League status is the way to allow the club to compete for trophies in the long term.
The Magpies are in EFL Cup action at home against Preston North End tonight, and Benitez looks set to name a strong side in a bid to guide his side through to the quarter-finals, and silverware seems to be part of the plan in his project on Tyneside.
Benitez is quoted by the Chronicle, saying: “We know that if we want more chances to win trophies in the future we have to be stronger.
“To be stronger is to get to the Premier League and have more income and more money to buy better players.
“If you are stronger you can then compete against anyone.”
They seem on track to return to the top flight at the first time of asking this season, as the weekend's results saw Benitez's side open up a three-point gap at the top of the Championship.
Given the size of the squad that Benitez has assembled, and his fondness for rotating players in order to keep them fresh throughout the season, there is a real opportunity for his side to be in contention to lift the EFL Cup. It should also be noted that at least four Premier League sides will be eliminated at this stage of the tournament and the draw allows for two of the favourites to be eliminated at this stage, too.
Benitez's comments seem to be a polite way of saying that promotion to the top flight is the main priority, as it should be. But his competitive edge and pedigree will mean that he will give his side every chance to go as far in the EFL Cup as possible.