Newcastle play Tottenham on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Last Updated: 10/08/18 5:42pm
Rafael Benitez has told Sky Sports he wanted to make more improvements at Newcastle this summer, but is now focused on their Premier League opener against Tottenham.
Newcastle made seven signings during the transfer window – but made a net profit of more than £25m, despite finishing 10th in the Premier League last season.
Manager Benitez wanted to make more progress over the summer, but insists his focus is purely on football now that the transfer window has closed.
“With five games to go we were safe and I was happy like everybody here,” he told Sky Sports.
“Then the year after you are expecting we can go and step forward, but during this summer we were trying to do our best to improve everything.
“But as soon as that finishes you cannot waste time. This is the time to be sure that the centre-back is ready against Harry Kane or the striker is ready against the keeper.
“We have to be sure that everybody is thinking about that. We cannot change what happened during the summer.
“What we have is a good group of players and I have to bring the best from them.”
Newcastle vs Tottenham
August 11, 2018, 11:30am
But despite the lack of investment, Benitez insists he is not thinking about walking away from the club.
He added: “I like the city, I like the fans, I like the club and the potential this club has. I believe that we can do well. If we do well it will be easier to achieve what we want to achieve in the future.
“We have to concentrate on football now. We wanted to finish the transfer window early to concentrate on football and that’s what we have to do.
“The players, the fans and everyone close to the stadium must stick together. We are playing Tottenham and that’s something you have to worry about.
“It’s important for us to be sure that everybody is focused on that.”
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Following positive talks between club officials and the players on Wednesday an agreement over bonuses was reached and signed off by both sides.
Benitez says the issue will have no impact on the game against Tottenham.
“You can change the motivation in one minute,” he said.
“They were talking about these things but as soon as they have the agreement, everything was finished and you could see when they had the meeting and they agreed the conditions, nobody was worried about that in training. This group is a very good group.
“When everybody is talking about football and we talk about Tottenham and how difficult they are, that’s when you realise the team is really, really concentrated.”
See more from the interview with Rafael Benitez and watch live coverage from St James’ Park as Newcastle host Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am.