Rafa Benitez outlines his hopes for the January transfer window at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says he's not looking to pile pressure on Mike Ashley ahead of the January transfer window.

Benitez wants to strengthen his Newcastle United squad in the New Year.

United's manager met Ashley, the club's owner, after last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

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The result left winless Newcastle propping up the Premier League table.

Benitez, forced to sell to buy in the summer after becoming embroiled in a stand-off with Ashley over his contract, which expires next summer.

Asked if he was looking to put pressure on Ashley ahead of January, Benitez said: "I don’t want to talk about pressure for me, for him, for anyone.

"We are a club that has to have the same targets – for now that is to stay in the Premier League. We can’t waste energy with my future, but, in January, we have to find the right targets to improve things on the pitch – and do it."

United signed Kenedy, Martin Dubravka and Islam Slimani last January.

And Kenedy and Dubravka helped the club pulled away from relegation trouble.

"Last year is an example, we finished 10th after we did it in January," said Benitez, speaking ahead of this afternoon's game against Southampton at the St Mary's Stadium.

"We can do something similar. Hopefully, we can be in much better position in January then it will be easier."