Rafa Benitez details Newcastle meetings with Lee Charnley and Steve Nickson

Rafa Benitez still does not know his budget for the January transfer window.

Benitez wants to strengthen his squad in the New Year, having had to sell to buy in the summer.

Owner Mike Ashley met Benitez and his players ahead of the Manchester United game earlier this month.

However, Benitez is yet to have a follow-up conversation with Ashley, who has attended the winless club's last three Premier League games.

And Newcastle's manager still doesn't have a transfer budget for the next window.

Asked if he had met Ashley, Benitez said: “I was talking with Lee Charnley this week. That is normally the person I speak to about business, and it was a normal conversation.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

"I don’t know my budget and it's not a problem. I have worked at clubs where we were not spending big money, and it's not a problem.

Benitez, preparing for tomorrow's home game against Brighton and Hove Albion, has this week had a meeting with Steve Nickson, United's head of recruitment.

“Steve is a busy man," said Benitez. "He has been busy since he was here, but it's a normal situation.

"We have to monitor players and choose the right one for us, but it's too early to think about January, we have to think about Brighton."

Newcastle made a profit of more than £20million on player trading this summer, while rival teams invested heavily in their squads.

"This year when you see the teams that have been promoted they have spent £100million," said Benitez. "It's even more difficult this year, but I have confidence.

"The new players have settled down well and the atmosphere is good. Everybody's concerned about the situation, but, at the same time, they know the way is to keep working hard."