Rafa Benitez insists he is happy at Newcastle, despite the club’s recent transfer failings and no assurances that future windows will herald an improvement.
The Magpies failed to significantly strengthen in the close season, with the manager expressing his frustration publicly a lack of haste in sealing deals and a significant tightening of the purse strings.
But that does not mean he is unhappy with the lot he has at St James’s Park. Quite the opposite.
While he knows he does not have what he’d hoped for, asked for, or was supposedly promised, a dose of reality and a pragmatic approach mean he is determined to squeeze every ounce of quality of his players that is humanly possible this season.
“You have to be pragmatic,” said Benitez, whose side take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday.
“I know that this is the group of players that we have and we have to try and improve them.
“We are working with them on the pitch and they are working really well.
“We can see some improvements, but still I think we can do better.
“You can see how they approach every training session, how they approach every game, the commitment of the game, the team spirit.
“You have to be happy because that’s what you expect from your players.
“It doesn’t matter the level of the player, you have to work hard for the team and they are doing that.”