Rafa Benitez reiterates the need for 'quality' signings at Newcastle

Isaac Hayden, left, and Rafa Benitez
Isaac Hayden, left, and Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez reiterated the need for "quality" signings after Newcastle United's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Sergio Aguero scored a perfect hat-trick for the Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium last night.

Jacob Murphy netted for Newcastle, who are just two points above the relegation zone.

Benitez revealed before the game that owner Mike Ashley had given him the "green light" to strengthen his squad in this month's transfer window.

Asked for an update after the City defeat, manager Benitez said: "In our last conversation with Mike Ashley, he said we had the green light to sign players, so I would like to see someone come before January 31.

"We need options. It's obvious because the team is working hard, but we still need some quality to help the team. We have a list of players – he has that list of players – and we have to try our best to be sure we can bring in what we need."

“This morning, I had a message. But I didn’t have an update. Hopefully, we can be closer to someone."

Benitez was unhappy at the "soft" penalty awarded to City for a Javier Manquillo foul on Raheem Sterling when his team trailed by one goal.

“I'm obviously not happy, because we have lost, but I was expecting something like that – the players working very hard against a very good team," said Benitez.

"I thought the team work and the spirit was positive. We obviously want to win, and the timing of the things that were happening was not great – the first chance that we had, the penalty that was very soft, the chances that we had after our goal.

"It was a pity, because it could have been a little bit better, but we have to say that they are a very good team."