Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez eases fans’ quit fears — but again voices his frustration over summer transfer business

Rafa Benitez has admitted that loyalty and professional pride are keeping him at Newcastle .

Toon boss Benitez is ready to ­battle on, despite being unhappy over club owner Mike Ashley’s refusal to splash the cash after the Magpies’ return to the ­Premier League.

Ashley promised Benitez “every last penny’’ generated following promotion to strengthen his squad after he was denied any spending in the January transfer window.

Benitez has spent around £30million this summer – the profit he made from player sales by the time the window closed last ­August – and Newcastle have ­recouped at least £12m this close season through outgoing deals.

The signings Benitez has made this summer have hardly been met with a frenzy of excitement on Tyneside. And fans of local rivals ­Sunderland mocked the £4.5m arrival of Atletico Madrid full-back Javier Manquillo, who was a major ­disappointment while on loan with the relegated Black Cats last season.

Newcastle have bought Manquillo — who struggled on loan last season at relegation-bound Sunderland
(Image: Reuters)

Benitez’s infuriation and frustration has mounted in recent weeks over the lack of progress in recruitment.

But ahead of Sunday’s ­season opener at home to Tottenham – a repeat of the Geordies’ last top-flight ­fixture, when they won 5-1 after being relegated – ­Benitez delivered a message of unity.

He said: “I want to stay because we fought so hard to be here.

“We’re behind the city, behind the team, and the city are behind you and your team. After August, I’ll see where we are in terms of points, but the main thing is we have to stick together and move forward.

Ashley kept his chequebook shut last January and is frustrating Benitez again now
(Image: Daily Mirror)

“From the beginning, I was working very hard to get the targets we had and we couldn’t do it. I was asking, ‘Why?’ But you have to put everything together.

“It’s a pity, but we will try to do our best. You are pushing to try and change things. If I am here and they pay me the salary they pay me, it’s because they trust me.

“And it’s also because I have won something and we are doing things in a professional way.

“We are not demanding crazy things. We are demanding just to do things in the right way, like we did when I was with Liverpool or Chelsea. I wasn’t ­expecting it to be like this.”

Benitez revealed: “I had two or three targets that I wanted here.

Rafael Benitez celebrates with the Championship trophy
Has Benitez taken the Magpies straight back up as champions only to fight relegation again?
(Image: Getty)

“I don’t want it to sound like ego, but they wanted to come here because of me and I couldn’t let them down. I cannot leave people waiting for me to do something.

“I decided to stay when we went into the Championship and I wanted to stay in the Premier League at a massive club like this to ­compete at the top of the table. Can we do it now? I don’t know. It will be more difficult, ­because we didn’t do exactly what we wanted to do.

“When at Liverpool, I ­received an offer from Real ­Madrid and I gave my word to Liverpool and decided to stay. It was a massive offer, but I decided to stay. I was happy with my decision.

“A couple of players were ­asking me, ‘Will you sign a new contract?’ I said, ‘I think so,’ and they were signing their new ­contracts, both players, and they decided to stay because I gave them my word.

“In this case, you know my family is in England and I wanted to come back to ­England and I decided to come to a massive club with all the potential. I stayed in the ­Championship, which was a massive risk for me, but I ­decided to stay ­because ­everything was so positive and, in the end, I was right. Everything was fine.

“Am I happy with what was going on during the summer? No, but I think we can ­improve and we can compete. We have to be realistic, and realistic means every single game for us has to be a final.”

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