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Newcastle chief hits back at Benitez criticism

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley has defended the club’s decision to prioritise strengthening the squad over improving the training ground and academy in response to criticism from former boss Rafael Benitez.

The Magpies’ hierarchy has found itself engaged in a war of words with the Spaniard in recent days, insisting he turned down a contract extension at St James’ Park for more money in China, while Benitez has refuted that claim and repeated his assertion that the club failed to match his ambition.

Benitez had been keen to redevelop the training ground and the academy, but left having been told in no uncertain terms that what cash was available would be used to re-shape the playing squad.

Charnley told the Chronicle: “What we have said is it is about priorities. There is a pot of money. Where is the greater need? At this time it’s on field. “

It’s not unreasonable, the pot of money can only go so far. You go and spend it on the training ground, it means there is less to spend on the team.

“Spend it on the academy, there is less to spend on the team; spend too much on wages, there’s less to spend on the team.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t spend in all those areas, because we do, but our view has been at this point in time, the priority is what goes on to the field.”

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley (R) has hit back at Rafa Benitez (Image: Getty Images)

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