Newcastle United’s need for January signings is obvious to everyone, according to manager Rafa Benitez.
The Magpies have picked up just two points so far this season and suffered their latest disappointment in a 2-0 home defeat to Leicester City on Saturday.
Owner Mike Ashley attended St James’ Park for the first time in 16 months to watch the match, and fans aimed chants of “where’s the money gone” at him after Newcastle made a £20 million ($26m) profit on transfers in the summer.
Benitez has frequently been at odds with the club’s hierarchy over transfer dealings during his tenure in the north east but reportedly remains in constant contact with managing director Lee Charnley over the issue.
Asked whether Ashley was aware of the need for January signings, Benitez told Chronicle Live:
“I think he knows because obviously we have been talking with Lee Charnley for a while. I think everybody knows.
“For me, it’s not fair now because the team is not winning, but they are working so hard and they are so close.
“We cannot analyse everything now about January because the team is doing a great effort.”
There has been a vociferous atmosphere at Newcastle with fans campaigning for Ashley to leave the club in recent seasons and the owner has not spoken to Benitez after attending the last two fixtures.
“If he wants to be around, that is always good,” the Spaniard continued. “If he is around, I will talk with him, but I don’t think it makes a big difference to us in terms of our performance on the pitch.
“We made some mistakes, we gave them hope and after that we could not react.”
United now languish in the bottom three and, asked whether the club’s January business would define their season, Benitez added: “Hopefully not. Hopefully we have two crucial months in November and December when we play a lot of games against teams we can compete against and get results.
“We have to be sure in the next two or three months that we can compete and hopefully we do well, and then we don’t have to talk so much about January. We have to start winning now.”
Benitez’s side face Manchester United at Old Trafford next and the manager feels his squad has enough attacking depth to score goals but rues recent injuries.
“[We are] not really [light on attacking numbers], it is injuries and the fact [Yoshinori] Muto is still trying to adapt to the Premier League, it’s not numbers.
“It’s more that we are looking at other positions, and we are looking for something different. We don’t have this and we don’t have this, but, if the team can compete, we can get results.
“It is so hard when you concede first because you can lose confidence, but we have to keep working hard and keep the belief and confidence.”