Rafa Benitez reacts to #IfRafaGoesWeGo at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez has reacted to the protests from Newcastle United fans angered by Mike Ashley's refusal to back him in the transfer market.

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez is having to sell to buy in this summer transfer market.

And United’s manager – who has a year left on his deal – is concerned that the club is being left behind by rivals who are investing heavily in their squads.

Benitez has been involved in a stand-off with Ashley, who wanted him to sign a new deal before agreeing a transfer budget.

Supporters have voiced their discontent and the #IfRafaGoesWeGo hashtag has trended on Twitter.

Asked about the campaign, Benitez said: “Everybody is expecting that you will improve the team and improve the squad.

“All the Premier League teams are spending big money, and they know how important it is.

Rafa Benitez.

“I said last year, and I’m saying this year again, that when you’re talking about so much money from the TV, it’s crucial to stay in the Premier League if you want to compete.

“If you go down, the next year is even more difficult because the difference in money is massive. Hopefully, we can do well in the next weeks and we can improve the squad enough to at least be competitive next year.”

Meanwhile, Ayoze Perez scored a late equaliser for United against Hull City in last night. The two clubs drew 2-2 at the KCOM Stadium.

Joselu had put Newcastle ahead, but the home side struck twice to take the lead.

“It was a typical pre-season game with some positives and some negatives,” said Benitez.

“You’re expecting the team to do good things, which we did with the first and second goals.

“We conceded two goals where we have to defend a little bit better.

“That’s part of the process when you are trying to improve your team during pre-season, and you have some young players mixed in with senior players.”