Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has admitted he is confident that his relationship with club owner Mike Ashley could finally be on the mend following the side's high-profile team meal earlier this week.
Benitez and Ashley, along with the club's players and backroom staff, had a meal at an Italian restaurant in the hopes of clearing the air after Newcastle's winless start to the Premier League this season.
The biggest talking point in the aftermath of the meal, however, surrounded Newcastle's owner appearing to make a crude gesture towards a small number of protesting fans outside of the restaurant.
Although Benitez wasn't willing to spill the beans on the topics which came up during Newcastle's informal get together, the former Liverpool boss was optimistic that things could finally start to turn around at St. James' Park.
"Yes, I think so," Benitez responded when asked if there were positives to take from the club's meal, quoted by the Independent. "It was [Ashley's] idea to try to support the team, to support the manager.
"Doing something like that is very common, a lot of teams do it, have lunch or dinner together with the president, it's nothing special. Normally it’s positive."
Benitez did stress that there is still a lot resting on his ability to be active in the January transfer window, hinting that the club's status as a Premier League club could be at serious risk if they continue to keep their hands in their pockets during the mid-season window.
"If he wants to come to games and to the training ground I don’t see any negative in that but we have to go to January knowing what we can do, because it's a difficult window," Benitez added. "Maybe we can fix things, improve, and see if can go in the right direction."
Newcastle will have the chance to secure their first win of the season against a struggling Manchester United side this Saturday.
The Magpies could move clear of the relegation zone if they can extend Manchester United's current winless streak at Old Trafford.