Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez 'calm' despite frustrating summer
Last Updated: 11/08/18 12:15am
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez drew a line under his summer transfer frustrations as he set his sights on Saturday's Premier League opener against Tottenham, live on Sky Sports.
The 58-year-old Spaniard, as so often in the past, found himself growing increasingly exasperated ahead of the deadline as owner Mike Ashley's promise that he could spend "every last penny" the club generated on strengthening his squad still left him searching for bargain basement signings.
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In the event, the Magpies ended the summer with a net profit of more than £25m, although Benitez was philosophical as he spoke to the media on Friday hours after it had been announced that Ashley's Sports Direct had agreed a £90m deal to buy ailing retail group House of Fraser.
He said: "I am really calm now because we have finished [the transfer window]. It is the time where you have to do exactly as we did last year, the fans behind the team, all together, the work rate and commitment.
"During the summer, you have to try to improve your squad as much as possible. As soon as you are finished, you have to concentrate on football.
"The fans will think, 'Rafa will be upset' or this or that, but this is not the time for that.
"We finished 10th last year. We have added some players - players we needed - and I think that is good and positive.
"Could it be better? You can always improve and be better, but I am pleased with the players that are here."
New signings Fabian Schar, Ki Sung-yueng, Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto could be added to a squad which this week finally settled a bonus row with the club and face a Tottenham side that has not been embellished at all during the close season.
Benitez's contract situation remains unresolved, with his existing deal in its final 12 months, although he has put that to one side for now.
He said: "If we have to talk about a possible extension, we will talk, but now is not the time."
In the meantime, Benitez will concentrate on what he admits could be another season-long survival battle.
Asked what his target was, he said: "I will be realistic and say to stay up.
"We did really well last year with the way we were playing and working. You have to be more ambitious, but it is football and our idea is one game at a time."
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