Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has lavished praise on his side, citing their Premier League survival as nothing short of a 'miracle'.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Napoli boss has received universal acclaim for the work he has done at St James' Park, having led the Magpies to safety despite the constraints of a shoestring financial budget.
Speaking to Marca, Benitez praised the consistency shown by his team throughout the season, whilst highlighting that the financial firepower of a newly promoted side from the Championship varies considerably from the league's big spenders.
"People ask if this was more difficult than winning the Champions League with Liverpool. It's not comparable, as the Premier League is all about consistency. Newcastle surviving means that many things were done right over a long period of time.
"People don't understand the economic difference between a newly promoted club and the rest. There are sides with less of a name, but with a much larger budget for acquiring players.
"The economic difference between a newly promoted club and the rest is very great. There are teams with less name, but with more money to sign. Newcastle has not spent so much. Moreover, there has been a surplus from signings.”
Benitez, who has been nominated for the prestigious Premier League Manager of the Year award, continued by saying that Newcastle's achievements were nothing short of miraculous, praising the work ethic and desire of his players to better themselves.
"Surviving in the Premier League with five matches remaining was almost a miracle. The keys to this season have been hope, the willingness to improve and the relationship between our supporters and the players.
"This squad have overachieved when you take into account the technical level."
The club's ownership wrangle continues to be a point of contention, with funding for a potential summer spending spree still very much up in the air. Benitez, along with Newcastle fans up and down the country, will be hopeful of investment as they look to build on a credible 10th place Premier League finish.