January 31, 2018 / 7:41 AM / a year ago

Benitez hopes Newcastle can strengthen as deadline looms

Britain Soccer Football - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship - Molineux - 11/2/17 Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Ed Sykes Livepic

(Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is frustrated that the club have been unable to bring in the transfer targets they identified months ago but still hopes to do some business before the window closes later on Wednesday.

Newcastle are 15th in the Premier League, above the relegation zone on goal difference, and have won only two of their last 15 league games.

Benitez has said it was important to add reinforcements in January to keep them clear of the danger zone but the club have so far brought in only Chelsea midfielder Kenedy on loan.

“It’s not ideal to go to Jan. 31 when you’ve been working for months preparing names and analysing players,” he told British media. “We can’t change what has been going on here for a while but I’m confident we can do something.”

Benitez said he had spoken to owner Mike Ashley about potential targets and added that he intended to stay in charge even if new signings did not materialise.

“My future is very simple and very clear - still we have one day for doing business. After that, still we can analyse where we are,” the Spaniard added.

“But I don’t think that will change too much because I have a responsibility to the fans, to the players, to the club. I understand. I have been here for a while and I understand the feelings of everyone.”

Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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