Rafa Benitez’s verdict on Newcastle United’s transfer spending - and that Callum Wilson penalty

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Rafa Benitez is pleased with the progress Newcastle United are making under its owners.

Former Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez believes the club’s owners have “changed everything”.

It’s exactly 12 months to the day since the Magpies kicked off a new era with a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park. Steve Bruce remained in charge that afternoon and United were deep in relegation trouble.

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Eddie Howe was appointed as Bruce’s successor under a month later and the 44-year-old has taken Newcastle from 19th in the Premier League to sixth.

During that time, United have spent £210million across two transfer windows, bringing in the likes of Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak.

‘They have changed everything’

Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images

And Benitez, one of 10 managers during Mike Ashley’s miserable 14-year reign, has reflected on the progress made under the club’s owners. Newcastle are majority owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, although Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi are in charge of the day-to-day operations.

“They (the owners) have changed everything,” Benitez said. “The mood around the city is fantastic. They have invested money.

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“It’s not easy. In January, when they signed some players, they are improving the team and the squad already.

“They have done really well in the transfer window and they are doing really well on the pitch because they play with intensity.

“They are attacking and that’s what the fans want to see. I talk about balance being the key when you want to win trophies.”

The Spaniard was on punditry duty for Newcastle United’s 0-0 draw against Manchester United on Sunday. Benitez also felt Howe’s side were denied a penalty when Callum Wilson went to ground under a challenge from Raphael Varane.

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Benitez said: “I’m sure from the bench it will be a penalty. It’s a penalty, for me.”

Joelinton hit the post twice in the first half with successive headers before Newcastle survived some late pressure from Man United to extend their unbeaten to five matches.

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