The former Magpies boss says it was key they signed players who cared.
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren looks dejected
Rafa Benitez has been busy so far this summer, bringing in no fewer than eight new players to the club.
The focus has been firmly on signing players with experience of the Championship as the squad was lacking on that front heading into the new season.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez speaks to players
While there has been a raft of arrivals, there have also been departures, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Andros Townsend, Papiss Cisse, Remy Cabella, Florian Thauvin and Fabricio Coloccini among those leaving.
McClaren appears to be impressed by the work they have done, saying it was essential for them to bring in players that care.
“Rafa Benitez has taken full control, instead of a head coach, he’s a manager,” he told Sky Sports.
“A key change is that they’ve got rid of 15 players – that was essential, to get people in that care. They’ve wanted to change the mentality in the club.”
Newcastle's Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden with referee Simon Hooper
It remains to be seen if Newcastle United can enjoy a successful season, with the pressure very much on their shoulders.
It is widely believed they have the best squad in the Championship this season, with many expecting them to comfortably win the division.
The experience they now have in the squad will be key to their hopes of doing that, and Benitez will be hoping his signings prove to be good ones.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez