On Friday, Rafa Benitez has given his latest interview on the eve of the first friendly game of pre-season.

Asked about the club selling over 33,000 season tickets already, Rafa says ‘It means how good our fans are’.

When posed the question, the Newcastle boss says he still thinks he was right to stay at the club after relegation and cites the reaction of both players and fans as reasons for that.

Questioned specifically about the transfer chase for Grant Hanley, Rafa didn’t try to deny that Newcastle were trying to buy him, simply saying that he waits on updates from Lee Charnley to see if bids have been accepted for any of his targets.

As for other signings, Rafa Benitez says that he won’t name names but that they do have players lined up, though a big part of how much actually happens will depend on whether certain players leave Newcastle.

Rafa Benitez talking to Sky Sports:

“You can see that the (transfer) market was quite slow but now it seems that the (Premier League) teams have a lot of money from TV (laughs), so now things have started moving and we are trying to do what we want to do as soon as possible.

“We have a plan, we have an idea, and we carry on with that idea.”

‘You’ve brought in new signings with Championship experience?’

“I think we have players here with some experience of the Championship – what it means to win, to promote, to stay, to fight, every week, play two games a week.

“Now all we need to do is bring in more players to make us even stronger.”

‘You have five signings already, I know you are trying to bring in a central defender, realistically how many more after that?’

“It is difficult to say because we have a bigger squad at the moment and you know that the idea is to try to keep as many players as we can. So it depends ‘who is coming, who is leaving’, then we will decide the number – but we are happy with what we have got.”

‘News today that Newcastle have sold over 33,000 season tickets, how pleased are you with the support?’

“It means how good our fans are, they are supporting the team and hopefully we can give them something on the pitch.”

‘Does that kind of thing make you think you were right to stay here?’

‘I think so, I am enjoying every minute because we are trying to change little things, the players are happy, the staff, the fans are also happy.

“We are not losing any games, so hopefully we can start winning games and everybody will see we are working very hard – then be in the Premier League very shortly.”

‘It’s no secret trying to buy Grant Hanley, how close are you to that deal?’

“That is something I am aware of, talking every day with Lee Charnley – but he is charge of the signings, the business, so can’t talk too much about that.

“We have some players, names (that are potential signings), but I will not say which ones.”