Sam Allardyce says Newcastle cannot “ask anymore” of Mike Ashley in terms of transfer funds.
Newcastle purchased £36.4million worth of players this summer, with only six Premier League sides spending less.
In terms of the promoted sides, the Magpies ranked behind both Huddersfield (£43.6m) and Brighton (£41.3m) in expenditure.
Owner Ashley has come in for most of the criticism as a result, but former boss Allardyce believes Rafael Benitez’s signings should be questioned.
“Mike has openly said he’s given Rafa all the money he could possibly give him that’s generated by Newcastle. I don’t think you can ask anymore than that. But it’s how you spend that money and who you spend it on,” he told talkSPORT.
“Of course he openly said you can’t compete with Manchester City, as much as the fans would want them to.
“They can’t compete with Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea even perhaps Everton, certainly not Liverpool. Financially they just can’t get there; you have to do the best you possibly can with what you get.
“Newcastle should be happy to finish in the Premier League for next season and then build from there and try not to put too much pressure on the players.”