Football: Rafa Benitez at wit's end over lack of Newcastle transfer activity

ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is unhappy with the club's progress in the transfer market, saying the newly-promoted team are paying the price for failing to land their main targets early in the window.

The Championship winners have signed five players before the Premier League season starts, but Benitez said more needed to be done for them to compete in the top flight.

"I am not happy," Benitez told Sky Sports on Wednesday. "I'm not happy with it, but at the same time, for me, it's a challenge and I will try to do my best.

"We missed some targets at the beginning and I think we are paying for that ... Sometimes it's not what you want, it's what you need and what you can afford now."

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Benitez blamed inflated prices for Newcastle's struggles.

He said the club was scrambling to secure deals before the window shuts on Aug 31.

"It's quite difficult for every team, but especially the ones that do not have as much money as the others," he said.

"The teams at the top have put prices so high that ... for average players, they ask for big money, big commission, big wages.

"Sometimes, you have to sign what you can ... maybe it's the fifth on the list."

Owner Mike Ashley had promised Benitez "every last penny" to improve the squad, but fans are unhappy at how little has been done.

So far, winger Jacob Murphy is the club's most expensive signing, at a reported £12 million pounds (S$21 million).

Benitez, however, reiterated his commitment to the club and said he was focused on helping the team avoid immediate relegation back to the English football's second tier.

"When I decided to stay, it's because for me, it's a challenge," he said.

"For me, I'm not totally happy with what we did but I will try to do my best.

"At the moment, I am fully committed ... The first thing is to try and be sure we don't go back to the Championship ... I'm very realistic. Let's be sure we do very well every game and we're out of the bottom three positions and then see where we go."

Newcastle begin their Premier League campaign at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.