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Rafael Benitez vows to concentrate on football as Newcastle fans demonstrate against owner Mike Ashley

Supporters protested outside Sports Direct ahead of Saturday's game against Tottenham

RAFAEL BENITEZ vowed to "concentrate on football" on the day Newcastle fans protested against owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez's team lost 2-1 to Tottenham in their opening game of the season on Saturday lunchtime following a turbulent summer at St. James' Park.

 Rafael Benitez says he will "concentrate on football" after a turbulent summer
AFP or licensors
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Rafael Benitez says he will "concentrate on football" after a turbulent summer

The Spanish coach insisted he will focus on the football after fans protested outside a Sports Direct following Ashley's £90million purchase of House of Fraser on Friday.

Benitez told Sky Sports: "I think it's the time to concentrate on football.

"I don't have any issues because I am a professional and as soon as I talk about business, fine, but we talk about football and I concentrate on that.

"Until the end of the transfer window you have to try and improve your squad as much as you can. Now I try to improve my players tactically and technically and we push as a group."

 Benitez and the Newcastle faithful have been angered by a lack of spending
Reuters
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Benitez and the Newcastle faithful have been angered by a lack of spending
 Fans protested outside Mike Ashley's Sports Direct on Saturday
Alamy Live News
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Fans protested outside Mike Ashley's Sports Direct on Saturday
 Ashley announced the £90million purchase of House of Fraser the day after the transfer window closed
AFP or licensors
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Ashley announced the £90million purchase of House of Fraser the day after the transfer window closed
 Salomon Rondon joined from West Brom on loan
Reuters
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Salomon Rondon joined from West Brom on loan

This summer, Newcastle retained the services of Martin Dubravka, signed from Sparta Prague, and Brazilian Kenedy, who was taken on loan again from Chelsea.

Striker Salomon Rondon is Benitez's biggest addition, joining on loan from West Brom, while Federico Fernandez was signed from Swansea for £6m.

But fans, as well as Benitez, have been left frustrated by the lack of funds available in the transfer window, with Newcastle making a £20m profit this summer.

Supporters protested against Ashley outside the Sports Direct, but Benitez suggested that must be forgotten now.

He added: "We have to concentrate on football now. We wanted to finish the window early to concentrate on football so everyone has to stick together. We cannot change what happened in the summer so now we must concentrate."

His team lost their first game of the 2018/19 season 2-1 against Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs.