Benitez frustrated by frugal Newcastle spending

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Rafael Benitez says it is a reality that Newcastle United could not afford to compete with other Premier League teams in the transfer market, and urged fans to back the out-of-form Magpies.

It has been a miserable run for Newcastle, who have lost four straight matches and scored just one goal in that time to slip to 14th in the table.

Boss Benitez is thought to have been frustrated by Newcastle's transfer business in the last window, as their rivals splashed the cash.

The Spaniard believes that Newcastle have enough talent to get out of their current slump, and feels their situation could be worse considering the relative wage budgets of other teams in the league.

"The reality is that if you want to sign a striker who can score 20 goals every year, it is £40million. An average striker is £20m or £30m," he said ahead of Newcastle's trip to West Brom on Tuesday.

"We didn't do that, so we are where we are. We have to compete against Huddersfield, Brighton or Burnley, but we couldn't compete against those clubs and sign the players they were signing. 

"We couldn't pay the prices they were paying or the wages they were offering.

"This group of players can manage if we stay calm and continue in the same way. Our fans know where we are and why we are here.

"We have had a difficult month. We knew that before. We have 14 points and are in a good position. Are we happy? No, it could be better - but it could be worse. If it gets worse, keep on going."

The St James' Park faithful made their voices heard in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at home to Watford, but Benitez believes the fans realise the challenge Newcastle face.

He added: "The fans appreciate that this group of players really care about the shirt and what they are doing.

"We cannot forget that the first of September we were complaining, and all the fans were saying it would be a difficult season.

"We are 14th in the league and in a good position. What is our target? What do we want to achieve? To stay in the Premier League. Nobody was saying it was going to be easy."