Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has urged protesting fans to continue to back the team as he attempts to mould a new unit for a fresh Premier League survival fight.
Benitez spent much of the summer desperately urging owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley to loosen the purse strings and fund his blueprint for a significant improvement.
In the event, his rebuilding work was done on a budget once again, prompting sections of the club’s support to organise a series of demonstrations against the sportswear magnate’s tenure which will continue ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Chelsea.
Benitez admits he understands their frustration, but does not want their anger to detract from the backing his players need to repeat their victory over the Blues in the final game of last season.
He said: “I have been talking for two months about what we have to do and why we have to do this and which is the way to do it based on my experience as a manager for years and years.
“I said after we finished the transfer window, we have to concentrate on that.
“But I have a lot of sympathy for our fans because they are really good. They know the city, they know club, they know the north-east and how well you can live here, they know all these things. They would like to see the club do things in one way.
“What I would say is just be sure that when you go to the stadium, you support the team because it’s the only way for us to be stronger.”