Rafa Benitez feels his Newcastle United side is prepared for the Championship – as they’ve got the knowledge.
The club kicks off its campaign in English football’s second tier with a fixture against Fulham at Craven Cottage tonight.
Newcastle have signed eight players this summer, many with Championship experience.
And United manager Benitez feels his new-look team, which now has a British core with experience of the division, is ready for the rigours of a gruelling 46-game season.
“We knew the Championship is so difficult,” said Benitez.
“We needed players with experience of the Championship and of English football, so they knew about the physicality, the importance of every contact. It was important to get players with knowledge of this side of the game.”
We needed players with experience of the Championship and of English football, so they knew about the physicality, the importance of every contact, it was important to get players with knowledge of this side of the game.Rafa Benitez
Newcastle’s ultimate goal is promotion back to the Premier League.
But Benitez – who is still looking for United to sign “two or three” players before the transfer window closes at the end of the month – is refusing to look beyond the Fulham game.
“The aim is to just beat Fulham – and that is it,” said Benitez, who yesterday allowed Florian Thauvin to rejoin Olympique Marseille on loan.
“You will listen to this all season – it is one game at a time. It’s the only way.
“(From) my experience of winning titles, you have to keep going. Sometimes we will make mistakes and we will lose games, but you have to be strong enough to keep going.
“You cannot lose your confidence after one bad result or be over the moon after one good result. It’s about getting the right balance.”
Benitez – who has not included new signings Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark in his squad – is looking to sign a striker.
Aston Villa yesterday signed Ross McCormack from Fulham, who was linked with United earlier in ths summer.
Asked about McCormack’s £12million move, Benitez said: “I don’t like to talk about the players of other teams.
“We have been analysing the market and it has changed a little bit. At the beginning, we were trying to do things and it was maybe a little easier. We had our ideas and our targets.
“Then the Premier League clubs have their money and everybody is waiting to see because they have more money and they are able to offer Premier League football.
“Now everything is more settled down, but you have less options.
“The prices for the best players are higher. Everybody is asking for so much money.
“We have done our business really well at the beginning, we have done very well recently and now we are monitoring the market but it’s difficult because there are less players and the ones that are available cost more money.”
Asked if he would consider taking players on loan from top-flight clubs, he added: “Yes, we are looking at it. We are looking at everything.”
Meanwhile, Benitez has revealed the story behind the decision to hand summer signing Dwight Gayle the No 9 jersey ahead of Aleksandar Mitrovic.
“We were going to organise a finishing competition for the No 9,” he said. “In the end, Mitro was telling him to take the No 9.
“If they both score both will be important. The atmosphere is good, it’s good for them to both want it but after talking with them it was easy. “They understand the main thing is to score goals and be on the pitch.”