Benitez and Lascelles sign letter defending Newcastle transfers
After a tumultuous close season, Rafael Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles joined Newcastle United in a show of unity to laud the club's business.
Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez and captain Jamaal Lascelles have joined managing director Lee Charnley in writing a letter defending the club's transfer business.
Benitez was critical of Newcastle's failure to make moves in the transfer market earlier in pre-season, but he ended the window with seven signings, bringing in Salomon Rondon and Federico Fernandez shortly before the deadline despite reportedly making a huge profit.
In a news conference on Friday, the Magpies boss appeared to be in better spirits, saying, "I am happy with my team."
And within a few hours of speaking to the media, Benitez put his name to a statement released by the club, addressed to the supporters, in which he, Lascelles and Charnley talked up the new signings.
"Doing good business in a transfer window is about ending the window clearly stronger than when you started and we believe we have done this," it read.
"The view we all share is that we have a better squad now than the one that finished 10th last season and all involved have worked tirelessly to make this happen."
After highlighting the experience of Newcastle's various recruits, three of whom - Fabian Schar, Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto - played at the World Cup, the statement continued.
"Given our finishing position last season, we already had a team of players who were more than capable of performing well in the Premier League," it said.
"They have shown heart, guts and determination and the inference that they are 'Championship' players and not good enough is unfair and untrue. The players all believe in themselves and in the quality of the squad, and we all believe in the players.
"Now, it's about all of us pulling in the same direction, for the good of the club. This came through strongly in a recent positive call between our owner and senior members of the squad, who agreed that better dialogue going forward will benefit all parties and is in the best interests of the club.
"With the transfer window now closed, the focus should be on unity and getting behind the efforts on the pitch."
Owner Mike Ashley similarly criticised the way Newcastle had been described as "a Championship side" in a statement at the end of last season in which he promised to back Benitez in the transfer market.
Newcastle players reportedly temporarily withheld on signing their bonus sheet for the new season amid a dispute with the club.